The Port of Long Beach’s beautiful and economically important new cable-stayed bridge lit up in bright colors Monday night, providing a visual reminder of this vital transportation link’s importance to international trade and regional commerce.
Just over two months after the new bridge opened to traffic, the energy-saving LED lights were turned on for the first time to illuminate the two 515-foot-tall towers and 80 cables holding the main span portion of the nearly 2-mile-long bridge. The lights will be pre-programmed to mark holidays, such as Independence Day and Christmas, and special occasions, such as the Olympics and Pride Month.
“We all know the Port of Long Beach is incredibly important to our local and national economy. Thousands of people depend on these good-paying jobs. This bridge connects us to our neighbors in Los Angeles and across the country,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We couldn’t be more excited that this bridge is going to light up every single night. This will be very visible as folks come in and out of our great city.”
Due to California’s stay-at-home order from the surge in COVID-19 cases, bridge lights were turned on automatically Monday without an in-person ceremony. A video of the virtual bridge lighting can be seen here.
Because people are being asked to limit their travel while the order is in place, officials are encouraging residents to enjoy the bridge lights remotely through the three web cams available at www.newgdbridge.com.
Harbor Commission President Frank Colonna said a lighted bridge should offer hope for a brighter 2021 and beyond. “These extraordinary lights represent our courage and determination. These magnificent lights shine on our city as a beacon of hope. This new bridge signals our confidence in a strong economic future for our Port, our city and the greater Southern California region.”
Mario Cordero, Executive Director for the Port of Long Beach, said the colored lights will offer an entirely new look for the international shipping complex, which has seen record months for container cargo shipments. “I believe our well-lit bridge will serve as a beacon to many ships from around the world that come to the Port of Long Beach.”
The lights will also provide Southern California a constant reminder of special days, Cordero said. “We have 27 different color combinations to be used at various times of the year – either to mark holidays, special awareness moments or even to celebrate our World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.”
The new bridge, which opened to traffic Oct. 5 with more lanes and a higher clearance for ships, replaces the shorter, narrower and functionally obsolete bridge. The new bridge serves the largest port complex in the United States: More than 15 percent of the nation’s imported container cargo travels over this bridge route, 2.6 million jobs throughout the U.S. are related to the Port of Long Beach and the Port annually handles cargo valued at more than $170 billion.
The new bridge also offers greater resiliency in an earthquake and a 100-year minimum lifespan. The new bridge, which will eventually be named through legislative action, is one of the tallest cable-stayed bridges in the United States and the first of its kind in California.
The bridge is a joint effort of Caltrans and the Port of Long Beach, with additional funding support from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
Video and photos of the bridge construction progress can be found at the bridge website, www.newgdbridge.com