Port releases draft EIR for replacing the Gerald Desmond Bridge

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The Port of Long Beach on February 4 released the revised draft environmental impact report for public comment on its next major improvement proposal — replacing the aging Gerald Desmond Bridge.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge is an important transportation link both for the local seaports and for the commuters of Southern California. However, the 40-year-old bridge is obsolete and deteriorating. The revised draft environmental impact report, or EIR, outlines the Port’s plans to increase safety and improve navigation with a replacement bridge.

With three traffic lanes plus emergency lanes in both directions, the new bridge would be safer and better able to accommodate cars and trucks on a major Southern California commuting route. The new bridge would be higher to allow for the newest generation of green cargo ships to pass underneath.

Replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge is an important part of the ongoing modernization of the Port of Long Beach. In addition, the $1.1 billion project would generate about $2.8 billion in economic activity and support, on average, 4,000 jobs a year during five years of construction.
The revised draft environmental impact report will be available for public review and comment for 45 days. The Port will host two public hearings to allow for comment on the proposal:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6 p.m. (presentations begin at 6:30 p.m.) at Long Beach City Hall Council Chambers, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 6 p.m. (presentations begin at 6:30 p.m.) at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St.

At each hearing, Port staff will make a presentation explaining the project and draft EIR, and then invite members of the public to comment. The Port is also accepting written comments on the EIR, sent to Richard Cameron, Director of Environmental Planning, Port of Long Beach, 925 Harbor Plaza, Long Beach, CA 90802, or by e-mail to cameron@polb.com. Comments are due by 4:30 p.m., March 18, 2010.

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