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Thursday, 29 May 2014 10:35cat

Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Receives TIFIA Loan

Written by  TheStructuralEngineer.info
The new Gerald Desmond Bridge will be the first cable-stayed bridge in California The new Gerald Desmond Bridge will be the first cable-stayed bridge in California ENR California

The $1.2 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project recently got underway in Long Beach, California. The project will replace the existing 46-year old bridge with a newer, wider bridge that will open in less than three years. The California Department of Transportation and the Port of Long Beach joined together to oversee the design and construction of a bridge that will not only improve freight movement into the port, but also relieve congestion and allow easier access for cars and trucks to the Port of Long Beach. According to Port of Long Beach officials, almost 15 percent of the United State’s waterborne cargo travels over the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced last week that the project will receive a $325 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to help pay for the project. This loan is in addition to the $675 million the project was already receiving in other federal funds.  According to the federal highway administration’s website, the TIFIA program was created to help advance large, qualified projects that would possibly be delayed because of size, complexity, or the uncertainty over the timing of revenues. There has been $1 billion of TIFIA funding authorized for 2014.

The original Gerald Desmond Bridge has been open to traffic since 1968. Roughly 68,000 vehicles cross over the bridge each day. Maintenance problems (nets had to be attached to the bridge to catch falling debris) combined with a desire for more vertical clearance for larger ships and more lanes for vehicle traffic led the Port of Long Beach to determine that it will be most economical to build a new bridge. Discussions about the replacement began ten years ago, and the project finally received approval in 2010. The bridge replacement is being run as a design-build project. The new bridge will be the first cable-stayed bridge in California. It will have a vertical clearance of 200 feet, 45 feet taller than the original bridge, and will also increase vehicle capacity by having three lanes in each direction. The new design will also add emergency lanes on the inner and outer shoulders, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways. Once completed, the largest container ships in the world will be able to enter the Port of Long Beach.

A consortium of Shimmick Construction Company Inc, FCC Construction S.A., and Impregilo S.P.A. submitted the winning bid for the project. The bridge replacement is expected to create 3,000 construction jobs during the nearly three years it will take to complete the bridge. One of the first steps of the project was demolishing the 710 freeway entrance ramp. Officials spent the months leading up to the start of the project preparing detours and informing the public about the ramps closure. The original Gerald Desmond Bridge will remain open during the construction of the new bridge.

Sources: Better RoadsLA TimesFHWA.gov

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