Long Beach Harbor Commission OKs new bridge project

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Polb Bridge

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners this week voted unanimously to approve a nearly $1 billion plan to replace the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge with a new, nearly $1 billion span designed to improve traffic flow, safety and vessel navigation.

“The bridge is obsolete and deteriorating,” says Richard D. Steinke, port executive director. “The new bridge will add lanes for improved traffic flow and dedicated safety lanes to keep traffic moving if there’s a breakdown or accident.”

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, completed in 1968, is a vital route for cargo, carrying about 15 percent of the nation’s goods. It is also a critical link for commuters, who make up about 75 percent of bridge traffic. The bridge serves as a connection for thousands of vehicles each day between Long Beach and San Pedro, and between Orange County and western Los Angeles County.

The new bridge would have three traffic lanes plus emergency lanes in both directions, making it safer and better able to accommodate cars and trucks on a major Southern California commuting route. The new bridge also would be higher to allow for the newest generation of green cargo ships to pass underneath.