Bridges play a vital role in our communities and the economy. In California, close to 673,254,000 million cars drive over bridges every day.
Bridges connect people to jobs, schools, and family members. They ensure access for emergency vehicles and they help to facilitate efficient and reliable goods movement.
Bridge-building projects create good-paying construction jobs, and wages earned by construction and maintenance workers have a positive impact on local businesses and the economy.
One prime example in Southern California is the newly renovated Gerald Desmond Bridge, which connects downtown Long Beach and Terminal Island.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge has become a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure, with nearly 15 percent of the nation’s waterborne cargo trucked across the bridge. It is also a critical access route for commuters between the Port of Long Beach, downtown Long Beach, and surrounding communities.
The old bridge served the port and city for decades, but could not accommodate today’s larger cargo ships or the dramatic increase in traffic with the growth of the Port. The structure began to deteriorate, resulting in workers attaching nets along the bottom of the bridge to catch falling concrete and debris.
The new bridge, which opened in October 2020, was designed with a 205-foot vertical clearance to accommodate larger cargo ships.
Other benefits include:
- Three 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 A reduction in the bridge’s steep grades for further improvements to traffic flow
- The Mark Bixby Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Path with three scenic overlooks
The U.S. DOT estimated that the $1.47 billion bridge project would result in 3,000 jobs per year and more than $2 billion in economic activity in Southern California.
Learn more about Rebuild SoCal Partnership’s Fix Every Bridge Campaign at www.Rebuildsocal.org/fixeverybridge
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