The transition ramp that connects truckers and motorists traveling east from Terminal Island along Ocean Boulevard to the northbound 710 Freeway in Long Beach is scheduled to permanently close, so it can be demolished to make room for the construction of a new connector ramp as part of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project.
Traffic patterns will begin to change on Saturday night, June 9, when the transition ramp is closed at 9 p.m. A few hours later, eastbound Ocean Boulevard will close at the SR-47 interchange to allow crews to install the final components of the ramp closure and detour. Later on Sunday, June 10, a new detour route will be opened for traffic heading north to the 710 freeway.
Under the new detour, eastbound traffic on the Gerald Desmond Bridge and heading north to the 710 Freeway will be briefly diverted onto northbound Pico Avenue, then travel about one-half mile on Pico before rejoining the northbound 710 Freeway. The detour route will include three left-turn lanes for traffic leaving the bridge and turning north onto Pico at a lighted intersection.
The eastbound Ocean-to-nothbound-710 detour will remain in place for about one year until construction of the replacement bridge is completed and open to traffic sometime in mid-to-late 2019. Motorists are advised to allow for extra time for the detour.
“This detour route is the last major closure for the bridge replacement project. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this significant infrastructure improvement project. We are now heading into the home stretch to realize the completion of the new bridge, which will offer vastly improved traffic flow compared to the old bridge,” said Duane Kenagy, Port of Long Beach Interim Deputy Executive Director.
As crews begin to demolish the northbound 710 connector ramp, there will be other short-term road closures in the area. The first closure will occur July 4-6 and affect southbound Harbor Scenic Drive, which passes under the current connector ramp. Southbound Harbor Scenic Drive is the primary route from the southbound 710 Freeway to the Queen Mary, cruise lines and nearby hotels, as well as to Port of Long Beach Piers F-J. To access these areas, the recommended detour for motorists is southbound I-710 to the “Downtown Long Beach” exit and Shoreline Drive.
When completed, the new bridge will include six traffic lanes and four emergency shoulders, a higher clearance to accommodate large cargo ships, a bike and pedestrian path with scenic overlooks, and more efficient transition ramps and connectors to improve traffic flow, especially among trucks.
The replacement project enables the Gerald Desmond Bridge to remain in use while the new bridge is under construction. The $1.47 billion bridge project is a joint effort of Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach, with additional funding support from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
To watch construction live via webcams and for other details, visit www.newgdbridge.com.
Denis Wolcott, Westbound Communications, (213) 200-1563 (cell), Denis@thewolcottcompany.com.
Lee Peterson, Port of Long Beach Media Relations Manager, (562) 283-7715, (562) 519-2177 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo caption: A recent aerial photo shows progress on construction of the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge. A high-resolution copy of the photo may be downloaded here.