For months prior to the new bridge’s opening last October, Long Beach Fire Department worked with the Bridge Project’s Project Management/Construction Management team to put in place the proper protocols for emergency response on the entire 8,800-foot-long length of the bridge and its approaches. This process involved locating and mapping the nearest fire hydrants to accommodate different parts of the bridge to equip emergency responders with the best options in case of fire.
One challenge for the team was the future Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle Pedestrian Path, which is still under construction. The 12-foot-wide pathway is separated from the roadway by a barrier rail on the approach structures, then an air-break with a 205-foot drop on the main span. These features make it nearly impossible to respond to emergencies on the path from the road.
Last week on a very foggy morning, the Long Beach Fire Department test-drove a Polaris ATV on the path to gauge its accessibility and measure response time up to the main span. In the video above, Assistant Chief Paul Alvardo and Captain Scott Hart drove toward the path’s Terminal Island entrance, make the turn at speed, then head up the approach. From the entrance, the drive time to the main span was under 60 seconds, and there was enough clearance on the sides for cyclists / pedestrians who may be there in the future.
The Polaris ATV will be fitted with an extended bed to fit a gurney to enable the safe transportation of an injured person. When an emergency occurs, the vehicle will enter on the Terminal Island side having driven there from Station 24, go to the site of the emergency, pick up an injured person, then continue down the path to the Pico Avenue entrance, where an ambulance will be waiting.