Gerald Desmond Bridge
Status: in use
Location: Between Los Angeles, California, USA and Long Beach, California,
Structural Type: Arch bridge / suspended deck
Function / usage: Road bridge
Span: 5,134 Ft.
On a visit to
San Pedro or Long
Beach in Southern California, you may have occasion to drive across the
Gerald Desmond Bridge. There aren't many bridges in Southern California that
actually cross over ocean channels in this manner so the experience is
somewhat lifting in the fact that you are high up in the air which driving
across this suspended deck, arch bridge.
It was built in 1968 as a third route onto Terminal Island to
compliment Commodore Heim and Vincent Thomas Bridges, both part of
California Highway 47. It is located in the Port of Long Beach and connects
the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles with the I-710. Ten percent of all
the Nation’s waterborne cargo travels over the Desmond Bridge, a National
Highway System Intermodal Connector Route, National Defense Highway
System route and part of I-710. The bridges' namesake, Gerald Desmond, was a
prominent Long Beach civic leader who served as a Long Beach City
Councilmember and as Long Beach City Attorney.
suspension span of the Gerald Desmond Bridge is 1,053 feet long with the
highest point of the bridge standing 250 feet above the water below. This
bridge was built high to allow for commercial shipping traffic to pass
beneath it, but with recent advances in shipping technology, today's
container ships are sometimes too large to fit under the bridge. Like the
pontoon bridge that preceded it, Gerald Desmond Bridge may be replaced
pending funding by the Port of Long Beach and Caltrans. The Program entails
replacing the existing four lane bridge with a six-lane cable-stayed bridge.
With an air draft of 200 feet, the new bridge will assure that the largest
container ships will have unimpeded access.
Corridor/Gerald Desmond Bridge is the de facto trade highway gateway to the
nation. All cities along the I-710 corridor and the Los Angeles County
Metropolitan Transportation Authority have adopted a “Locally Preferred
Strategy” (LPS) for the Alameda Corridor, a transportation corridor built to
enhance movement of goods in and out of The Ports of Long Beach and Los
Desmond Bridge connects Terminal Island with downtown Long Beach and
northbound Interstate 710, passing over shipping channels below the bridge.
The bridge affords an expansive view of surrounding Long Beach and points
eastward. The right lanes lead to Interstate 710; the left lanes lead into
downtown Long Beach via Ocean Boulevard.
narrow shoulders of the bridge preclude it from meeting Interstate
standards, it is listed as part of California 710 Freeway.
The northbound California 710/Terminal Island Spur begins along the Seaside
Freeway after its intersection with California 47/Terminal Island Freeway.
This intersection is slated to be upgraded to a freeway interchange in
coming years. The first exit after that intersection is this one, for Piers
S and T. It is the last exit before crossing the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
A recent study by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and the Alameda
Corridor Transportation Authority estimated that truck traffic on I-710
could double by 2030 even with the implementation of several truck reduction
strategies, including shuttle trains, more use of on-dock and near-dock rail
yards, a “virtual” container yard, and extended gate hours. Thus, the
freeway improvements will be required even with these other strategies in
ports in Los Angeles County and the import /export industries bring many
travelers to the state of California, visitors also come to San Pedro where
the bridge is situated, to enjoy vacations. Overlooked as a vacation hot
spot, San Pedro is really a great getaway. One of our favorite hotels for
overnight and weekend stays is the
Marina Hotel on the water.