Gerald Desmond Bridge
Gerald Desmond Bridge. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Port of Long Beach will hold a retirement ceremony Saturday for the decommissioned Gerald Desmond Bridge, which will be demolished to allow better access to the port’s Inner Harbor for large cargo vessels.

The 5,134-foot-long through-arch bridge was closed to traffic in October 2020, when a replacement bridge opened.

The demolition project has not been scheduled, but the 10:15 a.m. retirement ceremony will include Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Board of Harbor Commissioners Vice President Sharon Weissman, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, and Gerald Desmond, Jr., who as an 18-year-old helped tighten the last bolt into place on the bridge named for his father.

“The Gerald Desmond Bridge helped this port complex become one of the busiest in the world. It helped us reach new heights during an era of incredible, transformative growth in international trade,” Cordero said in February.

“We will bid a fond farewell to the Gerald Desmond, and honor the memory of the man for whom it was named. The new bridge that replaced it is a fitting and lasting tribute to the old span.”

The bridge opened in 1968 and was named for the late Long Beach City Attorney Gerald Desmond, who obtained tideland oil funds, which helped pay for the bridge.

“The Gerald Desmond Bridge served this port, city and region well over 50 years,” Steven Neal, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, said in February. “It was time to build a safer, taller and wider span that will allow the Port of Long Beach to remain a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade well into the future.”

Funding for the demolition was included in the $1.57 billion budget to build the replacement bridge. The port awarded a contract for the project in July to Kiewit West Inc.

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