Flyover, Clean Truck Procession, Boat Parade to Celebrate Milestone
Sept. 29, 2020
LONG BEACH, CA – A flyover by vintage aircraft, a procession of clean cargo trucks and classic cars, a boat parade and more will highlight virtual, webcast ceremonies on Friday, Oct. 2, marking the opening of the iconic new bridge at the Port of Long Beach.
The virtual ceremonies will be available for viewing via webcast and cable broadcast only – through a variety of social media channels and websites. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no public gathering at or near the bridge.
The broadcast event atop the 205-foot-high bridge will be led by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Port Executive Director Mario Cordero and Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna. The webcast will include a special one-hour pre-show featuring stories on how the cable-stayed bridge was constructed and greetings from local, state and federal dignitaries and other VIPs.
“Together, we will be opening a new bridge to transport trade across America,” said Mayor Garcia. “The Port of Long Beach has never been stronger and with this new bridge we will meet the demands for economic growth in the future.”
The ceremony will begin webcasting at 10 a.m. on Friday and will be available via the websites and associated social media channels of polb.com, newgdbridge.com and lbtv3.com. It will also be broadcast on LBTV, available on Spectrum channel 3, Frontier FiOS channel 21, and AT&T U-verse channel 99.
Following a one-hour preshow, the livestreamed commemoration continues at 11 a.m. with a coordinated procession via land, sea and air. This includes:
- A “first drive” over the bridge led by 30 cargo trucks representing the Port’s terminals and major shipping lines, followed by classic cars highlighting the decades of Port operations. Garcia, Cordero and Colonna will be wearing masks and will climb aboard the trucks at a “start-finish” line on the bridge’s main span to begin the procession. Harbor Commissioners are also part of the procession and will ride the Port’s float on socially distanced seating.
- A five-plane formation of the Torrance-based Tiger Squadron – historic warplanes offering a tribute to the Port’s prior legacy as a major U.S. Navy base.
- A boat parade will pass underneath the new bridge, led by water-spouting fireboats. Participants include the Long Beach Police and Fire departments, Jacobsen Pilot Service, Los Angeles Port Police and Fire units, California Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the City of Avalon Harbor Department.
Officials emphasize that watching the ceremony on livestream or cable will provide the best views of all activities. The new bridge will remain closed to the public. A televised ceremony was required to avoid any potential spread of the coronavirus that may have occurred with a public gathering.
The entire broadcast will be hosted by Dr. Noel Hacegaba and Richard Cameron, deputy executive directors for the Port of Long Beach. Among the dignitaries offering their pre-taped observations and commentary are: California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, California Secretary of Transportation David Kim, Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin, U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, state Senator Lena Gonzalez, state Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Mayor and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Eric Garcetti, ILWU Local 13 President Ramon Ponce de Leon, California Transportation Commission Chair Hilary Norton and Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles-Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades CouncilRon Miller.
The pre-show will also feature stories and interviews with key individuals involved in the building of the bridge, as well as “behind-the-scenes” stories regarding the construction of California’s first cable-stayed bridge for traffic.
Later that day, construction crews will begin the weekend-long process of switching lanes to the new bridge. The span is scheduled to open to traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5. The six-lane, nearly 2-mile-long bridge will provide a seamless, efficient transition to and from the southern terminus of the 710 Freeway at the east end of this major transportation link, and an integrated connection to State Route 47 and Terminal Island at the west end. The new bridge, which will be named at a later date, also provides additional clearance for ships going to the Port of Long Beach’s inner harbor terminals.
The $1.47 billion project to replace the current Gerald Desmond Bridge will provide the Port of Long Beach and greater port complex a state-of-the-art bridge capable of meeting the needs for international cargo movement for the next 100 years. The new bridge 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).