A new stage of construction for a new bridge in Long Beach began Wednesday, marking a critical step in the $1.3 billion project.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project aims to construct a new bridge in place of the old Gerald Desmond Bridge built in 1968. Principal construction for the bridge began in June, and it will take about three years to complete, plus another year to demolish the old bridge, Long Beach officials said.
Once completed, the new bridge will be the second tallest cable-stayed bridge in the US, right behind the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in South Carolina.
The new bridge’s two towers will reach a height of 515 feet. Officials said the bridge will be vital to the economy and for the Port of Long Beach’s international competitiveness.
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"This bridge is critically important, not only to Southern California, but to the rest of the country in terms of imports and exports going across the oceans," project spokesperson Denis Wolcott said.
Workers are laying a solid underground foundation, where about 350 foundation piles are constructed in the ground at depths of 175 feet below the surface, with poured concrete and inserted steel rebar in pre-dug holes, Long Beach officials said.
Grout is injected under high pressure to the very bottom of the pile.
The new bridge will have a deck rising 205 feet above water, ideal for accommodating large cargo ships coming in and out of port. The deck will also include three car lanes in each direction, up from two lanes on the old bridge, along with emergency lanes and bicycle paths.
Drivers can expect long-term road closures and detours as the project continues, including Ocean Boulevard, the 710 Freeway, Pico Avenue, and Harbor Scenic Drive. More information can be found on the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project website.