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lb-bridgeLONG BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — Officials on Tuesday broke ground on a $1 billion project to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge at the Port of Long Beach.

With twin 500-foot-tall towers, the new bridge will be one of the tallest cable-stayed bridges in the United States and the first in California.

It will have three lanes in each direction, rather than two, to help alleviate traffic congestion. There will also be a bicycle lane and a pedestrian path.

The replacement bridge will be 200 feet tall — about 50 feet taller than the current bridge — in order to accommodate today’s taller container ships.

The project is expected to take about four years to complete, and it will generate, on average, 3,000 construction jobs per year.

It’s part of the $4.5 billion in current and planned improvements to the Port of Long Beach to modernize it and keep it competitive.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge opened in 1968, providing a vital link between the 710 Freeway and Terminal Island.

Commuters account for three-quarters of the bridge traffic, which is about 68,000 vehicle trips per day.

Funding for the project is coming from CalTrans, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

For more information on the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, go to