New bridge coming to Port of Long Beach

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Three engineering and construction teams submitted proposals to design and build a new span to replace the 44-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge in California’s Port of Long Beach. The bridge replacement — designed to ease traffic congestion and improve safety — is being procured jointly by the port and the California Department of Transportation. The port, Caltrans, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation are all contributing funds to the project.

The port is expected to enter into the design-build contract for the project by mid-summer. Construction would begin in 2013 and take about five years. The existing bridge will remain open until the new span has been completed. The total cost of the bridge replacement is expected to be $950 million.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, which opened in 1968, carries about 15 percent of all the nation’s imported goods and was not designed to handle the traffic load that it carries today. The new bridge will have a higher clearance to accommodate the newest generation of efficient cargo ships and will be wider, adding emergency lanes, to safely serve the thousands of cars and trucks that travel the route each day.