Bridge fight! The Port of Long Beach wants to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, the 1968 connection between Long Beach and Terminal Island. According to the port's website, 15% of all goods coming into the US cross the bridge, but it also carries lots of commuters, who account for three-quarters of its traffic (the port's executive director says "It really has become the bridge to everywhere.") The Gerald Desmond sounds kind of scary--even smaller ships are barely squeaking under it at 165 feet, and it wears a diaper to catch falling concrete (inset). It also lacks emergency lanes, making traffic a bitch. Port officials released a revised environmental impact report for the bridge replacement last week, with plans for a 200 foot high, six lane cable bridge with emergency lanes on both sides.
But there are objections. The LA Times reports locals are worried the new bridge will benefit businesses who use it for cargo transportation, while hurting local residents. They quote the founder of a citizen advocacy group called Coalition for a Safe Environment: "Wal-Mart and the other retailers aren't going to be paying for that new bridge...The public will wind up paying for it when the money should be spent on moving cargo with new technologies that don't add to pollution and emissions." The bridge is estimated to cost $1.1 billion, with funding coming from federal, state, and local sources. The port will hold two public hearings later this month.
The bridge between Long Beach and Terminal Island has an interesting history detailed in the LAT story, but not mentioned is the Gerald Desmond's feature in the opening of the totally insane Monkees movie Head. Video here.
· Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement [Port of Long Beach]
· Bridge poses a tight squeeze for cargo ships [LAT]