An innovative traffic feature of the new bridge under construction at the Port of Long Beach is scheduled to open early on Saturday, July 20, and will enable trucks and other vehicles to make a safe and free-flowing U-turn at the west end of the project.
The “port access undercrossing” is a second tunnel near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and State Route 47 (SR-47) on Terminal Island. This “Texas U-turn,” so named because it’s a common feature at intersections in the Lone Star state, enables vehicles traveling on one side of a one-way frontage road to make a U-turn onto the opposite frontage road without stopping at a traffic signal.
“This traffic feature was proposed by the contractor to reduce the expense of building and maintaining ‘flyover’ ramps for vehicles entering and leaving our Pier T complex at the Port of Long Beach. This nonstop U-turn is among many features of the new bridge that will provide a more efficient flow of cargo traffic in and out of our Port,” said Duane Kenagy, Capital Programs Executive for the Port of Long Beach.
With the opening of the new undercrossing, trucks and other vehicles leaving the Pier T complex and heading east over the existing bridge to reach the northbound 710 Freeway will now take a new route. Starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 19, construction crews will permanently close the eastbound Ocean Boulevard loop onramp from Pier T Avenue on Terminal Island. The closure is needed so crews can build new roadways on the south side of Ocean Boulevard. The detour for all vehicles headed east will take vehicles to the port access undercrossing.
When fully completed, the new cable-stayed 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.
The $1.47 billion project to replace the current Gerald Desmond Bridge will provide the Port of Long Beach and greater port complex a state-of-the-art bridge capable of meeting the needs for international cargo movement for the next 100 years. The new bridge, currently scheduled to be completed in spring 2020, 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 fact sheets and other information about the new undercrossing and the Pier T eastbound detour, visit http://www.newgdbridge.com/.