Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Construction Begins on Desmond Bridge Replacement

Construction has begun on the $1 billion bridge that’s expected to replace the aging, seismically deficient Gerald Desmond Bridge, which traverses the Port of Long Beach and Terminal Island.

In the early morning hours of July 13, crews began demolishing the final sections of a U-shaped freeway off-ramp west of the existing four lane Gerald Desmond Bridge in order to clear the path for the first sections of the new six-lane bridge.

The port says it’s counting on the bridge to dramatically improve an important commuter and trucking corridor at the Port of Long Beach. The existing bridge height, 155 feet, restricts newer, larger ships from reaching piers within the inner channels, but the bridge will raise the clearance over the port’s inner harbor channel to 205 feet, giving it the tallest span height for a cable-stayed bridge in the U.S.

“As more big ships enter the Pacific trade routes, the Port of Long Beach must be fully capable to handle these larger vessels with optimum efficiency,” port spokesman John Pope said. “This new bridge will improve critical infrastructure that will help keep Long Beach competitive.”

The new bridge, which is expected to be complete in 2016, is being built immediately adjacent to and north of the existing 45-year-old Desmond Bridge, which has been declared obsolete; when the Desmond Bridge opened in 1968, cargo ships were about one-sixth the size of what enters the harbor today.

The $800 million project is a joint effort of the Port of Long Beach and the California Department of Transportation, with funding contributions from the US Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Construction updates, traffic information and other details about the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project can be found at www.newgdbridge.com.