The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a $649.5 million contract with a joint-venture team to design and build a replacement bridge for the 44-year old Gerald Desmond Bridge.
The bridge connects Terminal Island, the heart of the Long Beach-Los Angeles port complex, with the Long Beach Freeway, which is the main corridor serving the nation’s largest port complex. The ports estimate that 15 percent of all U.S. containerized imports transit the bridge.
While the design-build contract is for $649.5 million, site preparation, demolition and other work will raise the total cost of the project to about $1 billion. Construction of the new bridge will begin in 2013, with completion scheduled for 2016.
In addition to replacing a bridge that has aged to the point where it has been fitted with a mesh “diaper” to catch falling chunks of concrete, the new 200-foot high span will allow the largest container ships afloat to pass under it.
Earlier this year, a Mediterranean Shipping Co. vessel with a capacity of 13,000 20-foot containers could not pass under the Gerald Desmond Bridge and had to call at another terminal.
This is the eighth design-build project authorized by the California Transportation Commission under 2009 legislation intended to expedite construction and reduce the cost of critical infrastructure projects.
A joint-venture team headed by Shimmick Construction Co., FCC Construction S.A. and Impregilo S.p.A. was awarded the contract. Approximately 3,000 construction jobs are expected to be generated by the project.