Friday, January 4, 2013

Groundbreaking for Desmond Bridge Set

The Port of Long Beach is scheduled to break ground on construction of a new, $1 billion bridge next week. The event will officially mark the start of the largest bridge project in Southern California.

The new structure, which is expected to have towers reaching 500 feet above ground level, is a replacement for the obsolete and deteriorating Gerald Desmond Bridge. The cable-stayed bridge, which will act as a connector between the Long Beach and Los Angeles port areas, is expected to include additional traffic lanes, a higher clearance to accommodate the new generation of cargo ships, dedicated bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways, including overlooks 200 feet above the water.

The port says the design-build project could create about 3,000 jobs a year, on average, for three years. The $1 billion in construction-related spending is expected to generate regional economic activity of about $2 billion.

The bridge replacement, which is designed to ease traffic congestion and improve safety, is being jointly procured by the port and the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans, Los Angeles County Metro and the US Department of Transportation are among those contributing funds to the project.

While the contract for the joint venture is about $650 million, the total cost of the overall bridge replacement project is estimated at about $1 billion, including site preparation, demolition and other considerations.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2016, according to the port.