The heavy lifting for the Gerald Desmond Bridge’s replacement is done.
Construction crews on Tuesday, April 21, connected the final major steel floor beam to the new bridge’s main span — the defining part of a bridge — a process that took two years to complete.
The bridge isn’t finished yet, though the tasks that remain are relatively minor compared to completing the bridge’s main span over the Port of Long Beach’s back channel. The main span, according to port officials, required 117 floor beams, each of which is 140 feet long and 10 feet tall — and weighing 32 tons.
The new $1.47 billion bridge — which will connect Long Beach to Terminal Island — will be California’s first cable-stayed bridge. It is slated to open later this year.
The replacement bridge will include six traffic lanes and four emergency shoulders, a higher clearance allowing large cargo ships to pass under it, a bike and pedestrian path, and more efficient transition ramps and connectors.
But before it’s ready for motorists, several more tasks must be finished. Those include:
- Installing cables horizontally through the floor and pulling them tight to increase the strength of the main span concrete deck;
- Constructing the ocean-facing bike and pedestrian path;
- Calibrating and tensioning the 80 cables holding the road deck;
- Putting in a final concrete overlay, providing the long-term protection against traffic; and
- installing signing, lighting and other fixtures.
Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach partnered to build the new bridge. Construction began in 2013.
The bridge will have a 100-year lifespan, officials said.