The bridge closed in October 2020 when its replacement opened. Its removal will give large cargo vessels easier access the Port’s inner harbour.
The Port of Long Beach awarded a contract in July 2021 to Kiewit West to dismantle and remove main steel truss spans, steel plate girder approaches, abutments, columns, access ramps, foundations and other pieces of the old bridge. Full demolition is expected to be concluded by the end of 2023.
Funding for the US$59.9 million demolition project has been included within the overall US$1.57 billion budget to build the replacement . Metal and other materials removed from the old bridge will be hauled to a recycling site for salvaging and reuse.
“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 honour the memory of the man for whom it was named. The new bridge that replaced it is a fitting, and lasting tribute to the old span.”
The 1,565m-long through-arch bridge, which opened in 1968, was named after a former Long Beach city attorney who helped secure funding for its construction.
“The Gerald Desmond Bridge served this Port, city and region well over 50 years,” said Steven Neal, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “It was time to build a safer, taller and wider span that will allow the Port of Long Beach to remain a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade well into the future.”