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Port chief: Long Beach needs a new bridge

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Congress is expected to pass a massive transportation bill sometime this year. One local official wants some of that money to help rebuild the bridge that connects Long Beach to Terminal Island.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge was built in 1967. The steel arch carries five lanes of traffic over the Cerritos Channel.

Forty years ago, no one expected the explosion in international trade that has made the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles the busiest container ports in the country.

Richard Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, says we need a new bridge. "The bridge is not wide enough," he says. "It doesn’t carry enough cargo containers on trucks. It doesn’t carry enough passenger traffic. It’s not high enough. We have some safety issues with it. We’ve actually got netting under the bridge because the bridge is starting to spall and deteriorate. So it’s time."

The old bridge cost $35 million, paid for entirely by the Port of Long Beach. The new one will cost $1.25 billion in federal, state and local dollars. Steinke says he came to Washington to lobby for the last $500 million from the federal transportation bill.