Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Desmond Bridge Replacement Delayed
12-18 Months

By Mark Edward Nero

The project to replace the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge at the Port of Long Beach will take at least a year longer than previously thought, say port officials.

During the June 23rd Board of Harbor Commissioners meeting, POLB Acting Executive Director Al Moro, an engineer by trade, said several factors will delay the project, including the need for more extensive reviews and calculations. “This is a complex design,” Moro said. Completion of the still-unnamed new bridge was set for late 2016 and is now expected to be complete anywhere from late 2017 to mid-2018.

The new bridge is being built just south of the current bridge. When the new bridge is completed, the old bridge is to be demolished.

Among the new bridge’s planned features are three traffic lanes in both directions, compared to the two lanes in each direction on the existing bridge. The span of the new bridge would also offer a 200-foot mean high water level clearance underneath, as opposed to the 156-foot clearance of the existing bridge.

The replacement bridge is being funded by a combination of federal and state funds, with the port providing between 10 percent and 15 percent of the total cost. The project, originally projected to cost over $1 billion to complete, is expected to have its price tag raised, although Moro did not say by how much.

A revised estimate of costs is expected to be provided by the bridge’s designer in July, Moro said.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, which opened in 1968, is a main egress point for trucks into the port. Upwards of 60,000 vehicles a day cross its four traffic lane, 1,200-foot-long span, located over the port’s main channel.