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CA's First Cable-Stayed Bridge Tops Out

Thursday, December 7, 2017

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The first cable-stayed bridge to be built in California reached a milestone Tuesday (Dec. 5) with the topping-out of its two 515-foot-tall towers.

The new Gerald Desmond Bridge, in Long Beach, will replace the 50-year-old current Gerald Desmond, a steel through-arch bridge that carries Ocean Boulevard across the Back Channel of the Port of Long Beach. The $1.47 billion replacement is a project of the California Department of Transportation and the Port, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The new bridge will be 8,800 feet long in total, with a main span of 2,000 feet. The deck, at 205 feet above the water, will reportedly be the highest of any cable-stayed bridge in the U.S., to allow for large ship traffic in the harbor.

Too Windy to Top Out

The topping-out ceremony Tuesday, attended by state, local and federal officials, was to include the installation of a ceremonial topping-out beam, but high winds made the placement too dangerous to pull off; according to The Long Beach Grunion Gazette, crews may raise the beam next week.

Started in 2013, the massive project is slated for completion in 2019; its timeline has been delayed and its total cost increased along the way. Some aspects had to be redesigned to account for seismic activity—there will be hinges at connection points to help the span survive a quake—and oil and gas pipelines found in the area needed to be excavated, which led to slowdowns.

Gerald Desmond Bridge rendering
Rendering courtesy of Port of Long Beach

When finished in 2019, the new Gerald Desmond Bridge will be the first cable-stayed bridge in California.

Each tower of the new bridge will be connected to the deck with 40 cables, each cable comprising between 30 and 80 strands. The longest cable, according to project materials, will be 573 feet long.


The bridge replacement is a design-build contract, being carried out by the joint venture SFI, consisting of Shimmick Construction Company, FCC Construction SA and Impreglio S.p.A.

Arup North America and Biggs Cordosa Associates are the bridge’s lead designers.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Caltrans; Design build; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

Comment from Fred Wittenberg, (12/11/2017, 10:21 PM)

Isn't the new SF/Oakland cable-stayed?

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