Orange County Branch Newsletter

May 2017

ASCE OC YMF Programs

Gerald Desmond Bridge Project Technical Tour

By Josue Candelario

On Friday, March 3rd the OC YMF hosted a technical tour on one of Long Beach’s iconic bridges, the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

Gerald Desmond Bridge opened in 1968 connecting Terminal Island and Long Beach. Due to the increase in traffic and safety hazards the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners moved to replace the outdated bridge. The new cable-stayed bridge will have two additional lanes with pedestrian and bicycle access. The project was awarded to a joint venture led by Shimmick Construction, FCC, and Impregilo. Construction began in 2013 and is scheduled to finish in 2018.

The tour included a presentation and site visit led by Contracts Manager Azzam Saad. Fun fact about Azzam is he has both an engineering and law background giving the tour a unique perspective. 

Azzam pointing out key locations at the port.

He highlighted obstacles of the project which included working in an area with over 50 oil wells and the struggle with determining the best foundation method. This project is unique in several ways:

The bridge has a hollow core structure to core structure to save money on materials and to reduce weight.
The towers do not touch the bridge directly but have massive hydraulic shock absorbers.
The existing soil conditions required a deep foundation method of tip grouting. This method was tested on site with Caltrans supervision and was incorporated into Caltrans for future use.

The tour included a walk up to the very edge of the bridge giving us a great view of the surrounding area and an up-close look at the hollow bridge design. 

An inside look at the structure that will be sustaining the roadway.

Some of the heavy equipment was on display including the movable scaffolding system used to pour road segments of the bridge and the metal frame used for the pillars. 

The MSS - Movable Scaffolding System - used to construct the bridge approaches.

The metal frame to be used in one of the bridge pillars.

The main tower stands 300 feet tall with an additional 200 feet to be constructed. Regardless, the tower was a sight to see.

The two towers in view stand 300 feet tall.

Overall, the site tour was successful because it aligned with OC YMF’s values to get engineers to witness local projects by getting them out in the field. If you’d like to get know more about YMF or attend events check us out at our website!

The group of attendees.