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Artist to unveil Metro Gold Line bridge design in Arcadia

In Southern California, one of the surest ways to get people to notice public art is to put it near a freeway. 

This week, officials are scheduled to unveil a new bridge in Arcadia for the Metro Gold Line extension. The bridge, designed by Minnesota artist Andrew Leicester, straddles the I-210 freeway in Arcadia.

The structure will be a fully functioning light-rail bridge that doubles as a public sculpture. Leicester's design was chosen from 17 others in a competitive process. Leicester worked with L.A. design consultant AECOM as well as and the bridge's builder, Skanska USA, on the final design and construction.

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Officials said the bridge spans close to 600 feet. The woven-basket look of the bridge's anchors is intended to be a reference to indigenous peoples of the San Gabriel Valley while the underbelly of the bridge is supposed to evoke a Western Diamondback rattlesnake.  

Leicester, who was born in Britain but has spent most of his adult life in the U.S., has created public art in cities around the world. In 1992, he made a sculpted courtyard titled "Zanja Madre" at 801 Figueroa Tower in downtown L.A.

The artist sued Warner Bros. in 1995 for copyright infringement, alleging that the movie "Batman Forever" improperly copied his design for the courtyard for certain scenes in the film. The courts eventually sided with the studio.

The Gold Line extension has been under construction since 2010 and has a total reported price tag of $690 million. The plans are to extend the line east toward Claremont.

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