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The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project spans the Port of Long Beach’s Back Channel with a deck rising 205 feet above the water. The sleek, cable-stayed bridge includes additional traffic lanes, a higher clearance to accommodate the newest generation of cargo ships, and a dedicated bicycle path and pedestrian walkway, including scenic overlooks. With two towers reaching 515-feet into the sky, this is the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the United States at the time of its completion.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project provides a critical upgrade to a vital hub in the nation’s trade system. The current bridge, built in the late 1960s, is in dire need of replacement. It was not designed to handle today’s large cargo ships or traffic volumes. When the existing bridge was constructed more than 45 years ago, cargo ships were one-sixth the size they are today. Although the Port of Long Beach’s outer docks are “big ship ready” and already handling the world’s largest cargo vessels, the existing bridge prevents the new generation of cargo ships from reaching the inner channel. The new bridge will raise the clearance by 50 feet up from the existing bridge height of 155-feet above water.
The Port is committed to maintaining the flow of cargo during construction of the bridge and other infrastructure projects. However, some traffic impacts are unavoidable.
The Port has assigned a special team whose primary function is to monitor and coordinate the road improvement projects related to the bridge, other traffic projects in the general vicinity, and utility construction projects in or near the new bridge construction site. The Long Beach Police Department and Harbor Patrol will monitor traffic and detours with street patrols and via traffic cameras. Even with these multiple efforts to reduce construction-related impacts, motorists can expect some traffic delays and disruptions.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project is a joint effort of Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach, with funding contributions from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
When the new bridge is completed, Caltrans will take over responsibility of its operations and maintenance.
The plans for the new bridge will enable bicyclists to reach a turnaround area on the west side of the bridge in the City of Long Beach. Of course, our plans involve only things we can build in our city, versus other cities.
Currently, there is no bike access over the Vincent Thomas Bridge to allow bicyclists to connect from the new bridge to San Pedro. We don’t know what plans that the Port of Los Angeles may have in this area.