Port of Long Beach to undergo $1.2 billion bridge project

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Thursday, May 08, 2014

Truck drivers visiting the Port of Long Beach will notice a major change during the next two-and-a-half years.

Beginning Saturday, May 10, construction crews will close the southbound Interstate 710 connector to westbound Ocean Boulevard, according to a news release issued jointly by Caltrans, the Port of Long Beach and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The I-710 connector is used by many to travel to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and to the San Pedro and Palos Verdes Peninsula.

During the planned 30-month construction of the new bridge, southbound I-710 traffic heading to Terminal Island will be detoured onto southbound Pico Avenue before being diverted to an on-ramp that rejoins westbound Ocean to cross the Desmond Bridge. A temporary traffic light will be installed at the intersection of Pico and Pier D Street to replace an existing four-way stop.

To replace the connector, the port is working with Caltrans and other transportation agencies to build the $1.2 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project. The new bridge will span the entire length of the port, the news release said, with a deck rising 205 feet above ocean water that will “be a new icon for the Southern California coastline.”

The new cable-stayed bridge will add to the existing bridge’s traffic lanes and have higher clearance to accommodate taller cargo ships. Built next to the existing Gerald Desmond Bridge, the new bridge will have new transition ramps to the I-710 Freeway and “improved ramps” to local roads at the Port of Long Beach. The bridge also will have a bicycle path and pedestrian walkway featuring scenic overlooks.

Construction on the new bridge will begin after the existing ramp is demolished.

“With two towers reaching 515 feet into the sky, this will be the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the United States,” the release says.

The port is encouraging travelers to sign up for weekly traffic alerts around the project by clicking here. Individuals can also download the “LB Bridge” mobile app from the App Store, Google Play or the Windows Store. The alerts and app will feature construction-related detours and other information about the project.

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