The new cable-stayed Gerald Desmond Bridge has been built 140 feet from and in replacement of the old through-arch bridge built in the 1960s, to accommodate today’s larger cargo ships and the dramatic increase in trucking traffic with the growth of the Port of Long Beach (POLB).
The Gerald Desmond Bridge spans the Port’s access Channel (the Back Channel) with a deck rising 205 feet above the water. Excluding approach structures, the bridge is 2,000-foot-long, with the main span 1,000-foot-long from tower to tower. The sleek, cable-stayed bridge includes additional traffic lanes in each direction for improved traffic flow; emergency lanes on both the inner and outer shoulders in each direction to reduce traffic delays and safety hazards from accidents and vehicle breakdowns; a higher clearance to accommodate larger cargo ships; a reduction in the bridge’s steep grades for further improvements to traffic flow; and a dedicated bicycle path and pedestrian walkway, including scenic overlooks.
With two towers reaching 515 feet into the sky, it is the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the United States. Utility relocation was one of the most significant efforts. Major utilities impacted included high-pressure gas, water, sewer, telephone, fiber-optics, electrical, and storm drain. Extensive coordination of project delivery efforts with oil well and pipeline relocations, abandonments and re-abandonments was also necessary to build the project.
WSP USA provided program management and construction management services for the project on behalf of the POLB. WSP oversaw and managed the design-build contract that POLB signed with a design-builder for the development of the project. Building the new bridge generated 3,000 construction-related jobs. The bridge opened to traffic in October 2020.