The Port of Long Beach began the demolition of Gerald Desmond Bridge this month.
The project is expected to be completed by late 2023 and will allow larger cargo ships to enter the inner harbor of the Port.
The Back Channel was closed to water traffic and vessels from July 9-11 in order to remove the 410-foot suspended span from the bridge.
Removal of the bridge will have no impact on vehicle traffic, as it has been closed off since its replacement bridge opened back in October 2020. Additionally, traffic on the new bridge will not be affected.
The Gerald Desmond bridge is nearly 1 mile in length, and was named after a past Long Beach councilman and city attorney. He was crucial in the development of the original bridge, as he helped raise the funding for the construction.
The budgets for building the replacement bridge as well as demolition of the old one have been combined into a total of $1.57 billion. $59.9 million of that total is dedicated to the Gerald Desmond demolition process.
Kiewit West Inc. was granted a contract from the Port giving permission to detach steel plate girder approaches, access ramps, the main steel truss spans, and many additional parts of the bridge in July 2021. Whenever it is possible, many materials from the Gerald Desmond bridge will be recycled.
In May, a retirement ceremony took place for the original bridge, and although it will be taken down over the next year and a half, the replacement will also be named in tribute to Desmond.
The new replacement bridge makes it easier for vessels to pass through the harbor and port, as it rises 205 feet over the channel. Gerald Desmond Bridge only rises 155 feet above the water.
President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, Steven Neal, expressed that “the new bridge is safer and serves as a symbol of the Port of Long Beach’s position as a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade.”
By Kate Bell
quote credit: Port of Long Beach, newgdbridge.com