Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge in been opened, adding a new piece of strategic infrastructure to the Port of Long Beach in California. The new cable-stayed bridge took seven years to complete at a cost of $1.47 billion.
Completed by Webuild Group, the 2,700 meters Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge is the first cable-style bridge in California and the second tallest of its kind in the United States. The two towers measure around 160 meters in height.
An increase in large ships and a general increase in traffic to the port necessitated the need to replace the 52- year old Gerald Desmond Bridge. The old bridge has four lanes and is 155 feet high and is expected to be demolished.
The new bridge has six lanes and was constructed through the partnership of the California Department of Transportation and the port. It crosses the port’s port’s 220-foot-wide backchannel that is used by ships to access the North Harbor area. The new bridge is expected to last for 100 years and is able to withstand major earthquakes and attracts low maintenance costs.
The new bridge was constructed without interrupting shipping and vehicle traffic at the port and is expected to handle traffic carrying 15% of the cargo that enters the United States through the sea. Standing at 205 feet high, the new bridge is the highest vertical clearance for cargo ships of any cable-stayed bridge in the U.S.
The bridge will also be used by commuters to access downtown Long Beach, the Port of Long Beach, and neighboring areas. Despite being an icon since its construction in 1960, the Gerald Desmond Bridge has been coming and increasing pressure due to growing traffic at the port over the years. The new bridge has three lanes in direction, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and emergency lanes.