The replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, Calif., has received a $325 million loan from the U.S. DOT. A critical connector for the port of Long Beach commerce and trade, the bridge is highly congested and in dire structural condition. The loan is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.
“It’s projects like the Gerald Desmond Bridge that demonstrate why the country needs a long-term transportation reauthorization bill, which would give states the confidence to move forward with much needed infrastructure repairs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our proposed legislation will help ensure that we are able to maintain America’s highway assets, create jobs and continue to grow the nation’s economy.”
The aging Gerald Desmond Bridge, which opened to traffic in 1968, has been deteriorating from various safety and design challenges, including seismic deficiencies and a low vertical clearance. The new bridge will improve safety by offering six travel lanes, new emergency lanes and shoulders and a higher clearance to accommodate modern, large cargo containers.
“This project will improve the reliability of freight movement,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “It will relieve congestion and make it easier to access one of the nation’s most thriving ports.”
Located at the south end of I-710, the bridge is the main link to the port of Long Beach. International trade and regional commuter traffic, accounting for 68,000 vehicles a day, exceeds the 46-year-old bridge’s capacity. The port, with substantial cargo-handling facilities located at the southern end of I-710 in Los Angeles County, is the second-busiest container port in North America.
The $325 million TIFIA loan and an additional $675 million in other federal funds will go toward the replacement project’s $1.28 billion total cost.
The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial nonfederal investments. Each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. Since its launch, the TIFIA program has helped 45 projects turn more than $17 billion in assistance from the Federal Highway Administration into nearly $64 billion in infrastructure investments nationwide.