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Road into downtown Long Beach to close for up to 3 years

While driving into downtown Long Beach, a new detour might start to reroute your normal commute. Starting Wednesday, eastbound Ocean Boulevard will be closed from the Gerald Desmond Bridge to downtown Long Beach for up to three years. 

The closure is a part of the $1.5 billion Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project. The project is supposed to deliver traffic signals and two new dedicated left turn signals, but it's also delivering a long-term road closure.

Detours have been designed to direct traffic during the closure:

  • If you're heading to downtown Long Beach, you can take the exit on Pico Avenue, turn right, then make an immediate left on Pier E Street, which will eventually let you join back up with Ocean Boulevard.

Pico Avenue detour

  • Another option is to detour onto the northbound I-710.

A few pro tips for drivers in the area, from the replacement project

  • If exiting onto the northbound I-710, keep left; everybody else keep right for Pico Avenue
  • Miss Pico and end up on the 710? Don't fret — exit at Anaheim Street or the Pacific Coast Highway to get back on track

This isn't the first time that the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project has required roads to temporarily close — and Port of Long Beach Spokesman Lee Peterson said it won't be the last time in the effort to rebuild the bridge while making it better.
“It’s going to be bigger and better than the old one, and just kind of built for the modern era of traffic and shipping,” Peterson said.

Gerald Desmond Bridge sees 15 percent of the nation's waterborne cargo. It is set to be built with higher clearance to help fulfill the needs of the newest generation of cargo ships, according to the bridge website.

Aerial view of south elevation
Port of Long Beach
Aerial view of south elevation

While the road could be closed for up to three years, the road is expected to be completed by late 2017 or mid-2018, according to the Replacement Project's FAQ.

For updates on more closures linked with the Gerald Desmond Bridge, follow the project on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the cost of the bridge replacement project. KPCC regrets the error.