Photo by Sarah Bennett
Construction on the first sections of the new Gerald Desmond Bridge starts this week after crews worked through the weekend to permanently remove an overpass offramp that sat at the foot of where the new structure is to be built.
The westbound Pier T offramp was permanently closed last Tuesday night and was torn down during a full closure of Ocean Blvd. between SR-47 and the I-710 that began on Friday night. Originally, the Ocean Blvd. closure was to last until 5AM Monday, but crews finished more than a day ahead of schedule and reopened the crucial harbor artery at 12:11AM Sunday morning.
Drivers seemed unaffected by the demolished offramp Monday morning and traffic moved smoothly across the old Gerald Desmond and through the proposed detour, which will be in place until a permanent westbound route can be established.
Crews from design-build company SFI were already setting up construction supplies on the land vacated by the Pier T ramp, preparing to begin work on the new Gerald Desmond Bridge's west approach. On the Long Beach side of the bridge, a worksite was strewn with cranes and construction vehicles Monday morning. Pylons and metal tubes of various sizes were lined up on the ground, ready to become part of one of the region's largest infrastructure projects in recent years.
A $1 billion project funded through a combination of Port, county, state and federal funds, the new Gerald Desmond Bridge will increase the channel clearance for megaships hoping to enter the Port's inner harbor and its cable-stayed design is expected to be a new icon for the Southern California coastline.
For more information on the new bridge and to keep updated with construction, visit newgdbridge.com