High above the Port of Long Beach, two tower cranes are busy assembling the new Gerold Desmond Bridge

The existing bridge, built in the 1960s, was not designed to accommodate the larger cargo ships seen today.  The $1.5-billion replacement, set for completion in 2019, will accommodate larger ships by providing 205 feet of clearance above the water, as well as three travel lanes in each direction and a bicycle and pedestrian path with multiple scenic overlooks.

The cable-stayed bridge will be supported by two towers - each rising 515 feet.  At completion, it the new Gerold Desmond Bridge will be the second-tallest cable-stayed bridge in the United States.

Construction is being funded by multiple sources, including Caltrans, the Port of Long Beach, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Metro.

Long Beach has been connected with Terminal Island at the center of the port since the early 20th century, originally by a single-track railroad bridge, which was later replaced by a 187-foot bascule drawbridge.  Though that structure was removed in the mid-1930s, a pontoon bridge was later constructed in the years leading up to World War II to provide access to a Navy Station on Terminal Island.  The pontoon bridge, though built as a temporary connection, ultimately stayed in place until the existing Gerold Desmond Bridge was completed in 1968.