Port of Long Beach Back Channel to temporarily close to vessels

Port of Long Beach Back Channel to close to vessels

The Port of Long Beach’s Back Channel will require a weekend-long closure to vessels in May this year while the Gerald Desmond Bridge is being demolished.

 The Back Channel will be closed from 6.00 am on 7 May 2022 until 9 May, as the bridge’s 527-foot-long main span is disconnected and lowered onto a barge.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge closed back in early October 2020 when its replacement opened. Vehicle traffic on the replacement bridge will not be affected by the demolition.

Removal of the bridge’s main span is one of the first steps in the demolition. Following the first weekend, further significant waterway impacts are not anticipated.

Full demolition is expected to be concluded by the end of 2023 and will allow large cargo vessels to access the port’s Inner Harbor more easily.

“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.”

Steven Neal, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, added: “The Gerald Desmond Bridge served this Port, city and region well over 50 years. 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.”

The Port of Long Beach awarded the demolition contract to Kiewit West Inc. back in July 2021.

Funding for the $59.9 million project was included within the overall $1.57 billion budget to build the replacement bridge.

In other recent news, vessel numbers outside the San Pedro Bay continue to fall according to the latest reports from the Port of Los Angeles. On 24 February a total of 61 ships were waiting to berth outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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