The transition ramp that connects truckers and motorists traveling east from Terminal Island along Ocean Boulevard to the northbound 710 Freeway in Long Beach is scheduled to permanently close, so it can be demolished to make room for the construction of a new connector ramp.
Under current plans, the northbound connector ramp could close as soon as 6 a.m. Monday, June 11. The actual date for the closure may change depending on weather and other factors.
When the connector ramp closes, eastbound traffic on the Gerald Desmond Bridge and heading north to the 710 Freeway will be briefly diverted onto northbound Pico Avenue, then travel about one-half mile on Pico before rejoining the northbound 710 Freeway. The detour route will include three left-turn lanes for traffic leaving the bridge and turning north onto Pico at a lighted intersection.
The eastbound Ocean-to-northbound-710 detour will remain in place for about one year until construction of the replacement bridge is completed and open to traffic sometime in mid-to-late 2019.
Demolishing the northbound 710 connector ramp will require a short-term closure of southbound Harbor Scenic Drive, which passes under it. Southbound Harbor Scenic Drive is the primary route from the southbound 710 Freeway to the Queen Mary, cruise lines and nearby hotels, as well as to Port of Long Beach Piers F-J. To access these areas, the recommended detour for motorists is southbound I-710 to the “Downtown Long Beach” exit and Shoreline Drive. Under current plans, southbound Harbor Scenic Drive will close for a few days in early July to permit the demolition of the old 710 connector ramp. Exact dates for this brief closure will be announced later in June.
“This detour route is the last major closure for the bridge replacement project. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this significant infrastructure improvement project. We are now heading into the home stretch to realize the completion of the new bridge,” said Duane Kenagy, Port of Long Beach Interim Deputy Executive Director.
Demolition of the eastbound Ocean Boulevard/northbound I-710 connector ramp is required to build the new ramp connecting the new bridge to the northbound 710.
When completed, the new bridge will include six traffic lanes and four emergency shoulders, a higher clearance to accommodate large cargo ships, a bike and pedestrian path with scenic overlooks, and more efficient transition ramps and connectors to improve traffic flow, especially among trucks.
The replacement project enables the Gerald Desmond Bridge to remain in use while the new bridge is under construction. The $1.47 billion bridge project is a joint effort of Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach, with additional funding support from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
For English and Spanish fact sheets on the freeway connector closure, click here.
To watch construction live via webcams and for other details, visit http://www.newgdbridge.com/.
Photo caption: A recent aerial photo shows progress on construction of the replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge. A high-resolution copy of the photo may be downloaded here.