Port of Long Beach celebrates completion of harbor bridge
The Port of Long Beach celebrated the opening of its long-awaited replacement port bridge for Interstate 710, which crosses the back channel of the port.
The opening ceremony was basically held because of COVID-19, with no public meeting on the bridge. Several socially-distant items, however, remained on the calendar, including a vintage aircraft flyover, a procession of clean freight trucks, a classic car parade and a flotilla of warships.
The procession included the debut of Volvo's heavy-duty battery-electric cargo truck, which is part of the long-term clean air plan for the Port of Long Beach.
The dedication to the new structure, which is the first cable-stayed road bridge in California, was given by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. For a cable-stayed bridge in the United States, the bridge deck often ranks as the largest. The port says it will provide commuters in nearby coastal communities with a much-improved transportation connection.
“This is a historic day for our city and for the nation. We know that this project is a phenomenal marvel of architecture and infrastructure. It connects our Port and the world to each other. All of the commerce that we depend on will go over this bridge-connecting Long Beach to the rest of the country," said Mayor Robert Garcia.
The two-mile-long bridge will open to traffic, marking the conclusion of a $1.5 billion nearly 10-year campaign to rebuild the original 52-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge, which was too narrow and too low to handle modern road freight traffic and the larger vessels now arriving at Port of Long Beach. In order to provide a reliable link to Terminal Island, the current bridge was reaching its planned lifetime, and the port said it needed to be replaced.
The bridge was built with an advanced earthquake-resistant design, given its position in a region renowned for seismic activity. During a very powerful earthquake, special joints at either end of the main span can move up to six feet in three directions.
The port says the design offers flexibility and separation to allow parts of the bridge to move independently, reducing the risk of injury. With limited maintenance, the new bridge is planned to last 100 years.
Maritime Business World