The Port of Long Beach is expected to begin demolishing the old Gerald Desmond Bridge next month to make room for bigger cargo ships entering the port’s Inner Harbor.
The port plans to close the Back Channel to vessel traffic from 6 a.m. on July 9 to 6 a.m. on July 11 to allow crews to remove a part of the bridge that is suspended over the channel and lower it onto a barge. Vehicle traffic shouldn’t be affected since motorists have been using the new cable-stayed Long Beach International Gateway Bridge since October 2020.
The Gerald Desmond Bridge, which opened in 1968, was named in honor of the late Gerald Desmond, a city attorney and councilman who helped garner the funds needed to build the span linking the city to Terminal Island. The bridge was decommissioned in October 2020 when its replacement, the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge, opened. Desmond’s name will live on as an outlook on the new bridge.
“The Gerald Desmond Bridge served Southern California’s regional transportation network for over 50 years, carrying more than 60,000 Southern California commuters and cargo-hauling trucks every day by the time construction started on the new bridge,” Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Steven Neal said in a statement. “The new bridge … serves as a symbol of the Port of Long Beach’s position as a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade.”
The Gerald Desmond Bridge is set to be completely demolished by the end of 2023.