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Major Road Bridges of Los Angeles County

Current Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach Harbor scheduled for replacement in 2018 (see photo below). Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.

Bridge City Year Opened Span
Vincent Thomas Bridge Los Angeles 1963 6,500 Ft.
Gerald Desmond Bridge Long Beach 1968 5,134 Ft.


Rendering of new replacement Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach Harbor, scheduled to open in 2018. Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.


The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Lift Bridge, opened in 1948, was the tallest vertical lift bridge in the Western United States. It was demolished in 2016 and will be replaced by a taller bridge bearing the same name, scheduled to open in 2017.


Closed Henry Ford Rail Bridge in foreground with Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Lift Bridge in Los Angeles Harbor, 1994.
Photo by Bruce Eckar for Historic American Buildings Survey, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Before the Vincent Thomas Bridge came to be, Terminal Island was reached by ferry from San Pedro. Boys were known to swim across the channel to the island in order to avoid paying the five-cent fare. They entrusted their clothes to one of their number who actually boarded the ferry.


The Gerald Desmond Bridge, connecting Terminal Island to Long Beach, was preceded by a pontoon bridge, built by the Navy in 1948 as a "6-month temporary emergency structure." The pontoon bridge went on to last until the opening of the Gerald Desmond Bridge in 1968.


Old Long Beach Pontoon Bridge in Long Beach Harbor, unknown date. Photo courtesy of Port of Long Beach.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge was named for a prominent Long Beach civic leader who served as a Long Beach City Councilmember and as Long Beach City Attorney.