Demolition of POLB’s Gerald Desmond Bridge to Begin in May

Work in progress photos of the GDBRP in Long Beach, California January 7, 2020

An iconic Southern California bridge that served as a vital freight transportation link for decades is set to start coming down this spring.

The Port of Long Beach is expected to begin demolishing the Gerald Desmond Bridge in May, work that would necessitate closing the waterway under the bridge to all vessel traffic from May 7-9.

Vessel operators should anticipate the closure of the Back Channel from 6 a.m. on May 7 to 6 a.m. on May 9. During that time, crews are expected to dismantle the 527-foot-long main span of the bridge before it’s lowered onto a barge, according to the port. Vehicle traffic is not expected to be impacted.

The bridge should be completely demolished by the end of 2023, according to the port.

“The Gerald Desmond Bridge helped this port complex become one of the busiest in the world. It helped us reach new heights during an era of incredible, transformative growth in international trade,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We will bid a fond farewell to the Gerald Desmond, and honor the memory of the man for whom it was named.”

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, which is named after a former Long Beach politician and civic leader, first opened in 1968 as a major artery for cargo movement until it was decommissioned in 2020 when its replacement—the current new cable-stayed bridge with a 205-foot clearance—opened to traffic.

The $59.9 million demolition work is being performed by construction company Kiewit West Inc.