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Seismic Work Will Force Weekend Closure of Desmond Bridge on Terminal Island

April 24, 1997

The Gerald Desmond Bridge on Terminal Island will be closed this weekend as a construction crew bolsters one of the structure's main supports to help it withstand earthquakes.

From 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday, traffic will be routed onto the Terminal Island Freeway, Anaheim Street and 9th Street while workers install vibration insulators on the west side of the bridge.

The $12.2-million project, paid for by state and federal funds, is required before the port can transfer ownership of the 5,100-foot-long steel bridge to Caltrans. The transaction is expected to take place within five years, Port of Long Beach program manager Christine Hobrock said.

This weekend's detour is the third such closure since the project began a year ago, Hobrock said, and two more closures are expected by summer. Nearly two-thirds complete, the retrofitting is expected to be finished by mid-October.

Caltrans has issued seismic funds to retrofit many of the state's older steel bridges, she said.

"The bridges in the past were not designed for earthquakes," Hobrock said. She added that the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which links Terminal Island to San Pedro, is also scheduled for retrofitting.

Plans this weekend call for jacking up one of the bridge's 32 piers, each of which consist of two pillars, while workers attach vibration insulators designed to provide greater flexibility. Early phases in the project have involved widening the bridge's footings and driving new piles to strengthen the structure.

Detours around the project differ depending on the point of approach, but Hobrock said she expected minimal confusion because the routes will be well marked.

Caltrans is hoping to acquire the bridge, Hobrock said, as part of its plans to incorporate both bridges and Long Beach's Ocean Boulevard into a continuous segment that will link the Long Beach Freeway and the Harbor Freeway.

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