LONG BEACH—Officials announced Sept. 24 that the state-of-the-art new bridge at the Port of Long Beach was on course to open to traffic on Monday, Oct. 5. The six-lane, cable-stayed bridge will provide a major new regional highway connector as well as improve cargo movement at one of the world’s largest port complexes. The new bridge will replace the shorter, narrower Gerald Desmond Bridge, which currently carries 15 percent of all containerized goods coming into the U.S.
“The Port of Long Beach is proud to count the new bridge among our many capital programs that continue to enhance operational efficiency and keep the Port of Long Beach internationally competitive,” Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna said in a released statement. “The bridge is a critical link in the nation’s trade system and improves an important transportation corridor for California.”
The bridge project began in 2013. The new bridge will provide a higher passage for cargo ships, extra traffic lanes for trucks and cars, emergency lanes, greater resiliency in an earthquake and a 100-year minimum lifespan. With the twin 50-story-high towers connecting 80 cables to the center span, the new bridge will be one of the tallest cable-stayed bridges in the United States and the first of its kind in California. The new bridge will also include a pedestrian-bicycle path and will be illuminated with dozens of LED lights that change colors.
The $1.47 billion bridge project also includes the eventual demolition of the existing Gerald Desmond Bridge that sits just a few feet from the new bridge.
Opening of the new bridge will require an Oct. 2-4 weekend traffic closure in the vicinity in order to switch over lanes to connect both ends of the nearly 2-mile-long structure to existing roadways that reach the 710 Freeway, downtown Long Beach and Terminal Island. Barring any unforeseen construction-related complications, motorists should be able to access the new bridge by the morning of Oct. 5.