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This $1.5BN bridge will carry 15% of all of US imported goods

Dan Cortese

16 October 2020

THE Gerald Desmond Bridge has opened after seven years of construction in a combined virtual and live grand opening event. 

Located in Long Beach, California, the 3.2 kilometre bridge connects the city with a key American port on Terminal Island.

It replaces a bridge built in 1968 that carried around 15 percent of all imported goods into the United States.

Above: The original Gerald Desmond Bridge (image courtesy of Eric Fredericks).

The Terminal Island port is regarded as one of the largest in the world, more than 2.5 million American jobs are related to it and more than USD $170BN worth of cargo passes through it every year.

The original bridge was too low to allow for modern container ships to be able to cross and access the port and not wide enough to support growing traffic demands.

The new bridge accommodates this by being 16 metres higher from the channel.

It also has six lanes and a dedicated bicycle and walking path and has the highest deck of any cable-stayed bridge in America.

At 610-metres in length, a main span of 305-metres and two masts standing157-metres high, it is the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the US and the first such bridge for vehicles in California.

Above: The new bridge will cary 15% of America's imported goods (image courtesy of Port of Long Beach).

German-designed joints at either end of the bridge’s main span allow it to move up to two metres in either direction, meaning it will be able to survive severe earthquakes.

The bridge has been designed to last for at least a century.

Funded by the Port of Long Beach, state transport authority Caltrans, the US Department of Transportation and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has called the bridge an engineering and architectural marvel.

Header image courtesy of Port of Long Beach


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