David McNew/Getty Images
The existing Gerald Desmond Bridge which carries traffic over the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is being replaced to allow the world's largest cargo ships to access births at the Port of Long Beach. Construction is expected to be finished in 2016.
Since January, crews at the Port of Long Beach have been in the preliminary stages of building the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge. In the next few weeks, people who travel the existing bridge should begin to see the first signs of a new one going up.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge connects Terminal Island and the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach to the 710 freeway. It opened in 1968, but the bridge wasn’t designed to carry today’s traffic load: 70,000 daily vehicle trips - most of which are by commuters.
The Port of Long Beach, Caltrans, the L.A. County Metropolitan Trasnportation Authority, and the U.S. Department of Transportation are spending more than $1 billion to build a new Gerald Desmond Bridge. The new bridge will be wider to accommodate more lanes of car and truck traffic and to allow the world’s largest ships to reach berths in the Port of Long Beach’s inner harbor.
Crews broke ground on the construction project in January 2013.
"There’s over $200 million alone being invested in the relocation of utilities and existing oil wells on the north side of the bridge just to make the clearance for (the new bridge)," said Al Moro, chief harbor engineer for the Port of Long Beach. Moro said workers will soon begin demolishing a ramp at the western end of the bridge.
Port officials have a set up a weekly email update to tell commuters who use the bridge about closures and detours due to construction.
The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2016.
After that, crews will remove the old bridge.
The bridge replacement project is one part of a $4.5 billion plan to modernize the Port of Long Beach. Port officials estimate the project will create, on average, 3,000 jobs a year during construction.