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Published: 5 May 2012      

Long Beach bridge selection

Impression of new bridge
The Port of Long Beach and Caltrans are close to awarding the contract for the US$1B Gerald Desmond bridge replacement

With a design and construction proposal of US$649.5M, the joint venture team headed by Shimmick Construction Company, Inc (USA), FCC Construcciones SA (Spain) and Impregilo SpA (Italy) is the apparent “best value” proposer for the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project design-build contract. Other participants in the joint venture include Arup North America Ltd and Biggs Cardosa Associates, Inc.

Port staff expect to submit a recommendation on May 14 to the Port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners to consider a “notice of intent” to award the contract. A decision by the Board on the actual award of the contract is expected in late June, with construction kick-off set in early 2013, and final design starting soon after the contract is signed.

The total cost of the overall bridge replacement project is estimated at around US$1B, including site preparation, demolition and other considerations. “This is a vital project for improving traffic flow for the nation’s busiest port complex and downtown Long Beach commuters,” said Doug Thiessen, the Port’s Managing Director of Engineering.

“It was critical that this contract deliver the best bridge at the most competitive price. We’re pleased that the world-class design-build team headed by Shimmick, FCC and Impregilo has met or exceeded all our technical requirements while also submitting a proposal with the lowest cost.”

The Project Selection Team, led by Caltrans, the Port and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), formally opened the financial proposals on Friday 4 May, following a rigorous, months-long evaluation of the technical proposals from three firms that had been pre-qualified to bid on the contract.

The technical proposals accounted for 20% of the score and the cost accounted for 80%. The bridge replacement - designed to ease traffic congestion and improve safety -is being jointly procured by the Port and Caltrans. The Port, Caltrans, Metro and the US Department of Transportation are all contributing funds to the project.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge is a vital link in the nation's trade system and a major commuter corridor, connecting I-710 with Terminal Island across the Cerritos Channel. But the bridge, built in the 1960s, was not designed to handle today's traffic volumes and is deteriorating.

The replacement project will ensure the safety of commuters and truck drivers and protect Southern California's important role as a major trading hub. Construction is expected to last five years and generate, on average, 4000 jobs per year.

In March this year, the 155ft (47m) vertical clearance of the bridge above the water proved insufficient to allow passage of the 12,562 TEU MSC FABIOLA, the largest container ship to date to call at Long Beach, and the vessel had to dock at the Hanjin terminal instead. The new cable-stayed bridge will have 200ft (61m) of vertical clearance.

The existing bridge will continue to be maintained during the (estimated) 5-year construction of the new bridge.

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