11:30am | The Long Beach City Council last night voted unanimously (8-0, Andrews absent) to approve the Port of Long Beach’s plans for a $1.1 billion renovation of the Gerald Desmond Bridge, a vital structure in the local goods movement industry.
The goals of the project are to repair extensive damage to the structure – in recent years the bridge has sported a “diaper” netting underneath to catch falling concrete slabs – add an additional emergency lane and raise the overall height to allow access for larger, modern supertankers. The Port says that adding new lanes to the bridge will increase traffic flow, but others have voiced environmental concerns as new lanes are designed to handle additional trucks coming to and from the Port.
“More than 40 years old, this obsolete bridge was designed at a time when no one could have imagined the growth in world trade, much less the major role that the Port of Long Beach plays in that international exchange of goods,” Steinke said in January of this year. “It must be replaced.”
The project is expected to take five years to complete, and could provide an estimated 4,000 local jobs over that period.
Earlier this year, LBPOST.com columnist Brian Ulaszewski called the new bridge design “generic” and proposed finding a more visually appealing approach. Earlier this month he also advocated for easier bike and pedestrian access on the structure that links Palos Verdes to Long Beach.
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