Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Port Connector Road Closing for 2 Years

By Mark Edward Nero

As part of a project to build a replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge, the southbound I-710 (Long Beach) Freeway connector to westbound Ocean Boulevard/the Gerald Desmond Bridge closed May 10 so it can be demolished.

The ramp is expected to be out of commission for about two-and-a-half years.

The ramp’s demolition is required to lay the foundations of a new bridge that will replace the obsolete Gerald Desmond Bridge, and to build a new southbound I-710 Freeway connector ramp to the new passage. The new bridge is being built just north of the existing structure.

Construction work will include eventual demolition of the eastbound Ocean-to-northbound I-710 connection. Details of that closure are expected to be announced later this year.

With the connector closed, southbound I-710 traffic heading to Terminal Island is being diverted onto southbound Pico Avenue, then to an on-ramp that rejoins westbound Ocean to cross the Desmond Bridge. Detour signs are in place, and a temporary traffic light is being installed at the intersection of Pico and Pier D Street.

The $1 billion Desmond Bridge project consists of replacement of the current 45-year-old structure with a new state-of-the-art span. The new, still-unnamed structure is expected to be finished in 2016.
The new bridge is designed to be higher from the water and have more traffic lanes than the present bridge.