The Gerald Desmond Bridge at the Port of Long Beach serves a major role in California’s infrastructure, linking the port’s Terminal Island and Interstate 710 to the nation’s trade system. Nearly 15 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo travels on the bridge. Built in 1968, the bridge has been deteriorating over the decades and nets had to be placed under the bridge to catch debris falling from the structure.
A replacement project is currently underway but since breaking ground in January 2013, crews have had to contend with relocating utilities and capping wells buried deep in an old oil field. Complications continue to arise, requiring additional investment in the project—the Long Beach Harbor Commission recently approved $3.1 million in additional funds to deal with a 1930s underground tunnel that is in the way of one of the bridge project’s supporting foundations. This change comes after the Commission voted in July to accept the final cost of nearly $1.5 billion — about $500 million over the project’s original budget.
Set for completion in 2018, the new bridge will stand taller to accommodate larger ships and will feature additional traffic lanes, separate bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways.