On January 8, 2013, the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project broke ground during a ceremony near the base of what is now the east tower of the new bridge along Pier D Street. Federal, state and local officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Caltrans, the Long Beach Mayor’s Office, the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) attended the event.
One of the highlights of the event was two helicopters that hovered at 500 feet to mark the height of the future twin towers. The ceremony also included a demonstration of boring and pile driving for the new bridge supports as well as other visuals that depicted the new bridge, how it would be built side-by-side with the existing bridge at the time, and other bridge renderings and video animation.
That day kicked off the nearly 8-year-long, $1.5 billion project that would ultimately employ more than 3,000 workers who helped complete the new bridge.