Construction is progressing on the $1 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge at California’s Port of Long Beach.
Crews are demolishing the final sections of a U-shaped freeway off-ramp west of the existing Gerald Desmond Bridge. The ramp removal was needed to clear the path for the final sections of a six-lane bridge that will provide a taller clearance of 205 feet. The new bridge is being built immediately adjacent to and north of the existing four-lane span that has been deemed obsolete.
When completed in 2016, the new bridge will raise the clearance over the Port of Long Beach’s inner harbor channel by an extra 50 feet, allowing the next generation of larger cargo ships to reach the inner berths at the port, and will improve the corridor for trucks. The project is part of $4.5 billion in improvements over the next decade aimed at modernizing port facilities.
“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,” said John Pope, the port’s spokesperson, in a written statement. “This new bridge will improve critical infrastructure that will help keep Long Beach competitive in the global markets in the decades ahead.”
Federal, state and local officials celebrated the start of construction on the project earlier this year.