A 1.5 mile section of Ocean Boulevard that links Long Beach and San Pedro, but was closed for a construction project, re-opened shortly after midnight Sunday, officials said.
That was nearly 17 hours earlier than originally planned after the 10 p.m. Friday closure for work to begin on replacing an old bridge that is so decrepit, diaper nets have been wrapped under it to catch falling chunks of concrete.
The stretch of road closed for demolition work on a Terminal Island overpass as part of the effort to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
The $1 billion project will replace the two-lane span with a new one that has three lanes in each direction, along with a bicycle lane and pedestrian path.
The new structure will include two 50-story towers and will be one of the tallest cable-stayed bridges in the country -- and the first of its kind in California, officials said.
The 45-year-old span is not tall enough to accommodate today’s high container ships, and its narrow width -- just two lanes in each direction -- is easily clogged with commuter and truck traffic.
The project is being built with funding from Caltrans, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The effort is part of a broader upgrade to the Long Beach port that is expected to cost $4.5 billion over the next 10 years.
The project is expected to create about 3,000 jobs a year, on average, for four years, project officials said.
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