Desmond Bridge Replacement Project Site Tour
On February 15, 2018, a group of MURP students and alumni mentors had the opportunity to visit the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project site on a tour coordinated by the MURP Alumni Council Mentorship Chair, Bryce Bunker, with the METRANS Transportation Center.
Participants were exposed to the intricacies, challenges, and recent developments in this major public works project that includes Metro, the Port of Long Beach, Caltrans, and US Department of Transportation. The bridge connects downtown Long Beach and the 710 freeway to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. As one of the area’s vital infrastructure components, increasing trade and logistics demands have necessitated improvement of the bridge’s traffic volume capacity, as well as increased clearance needs to accommodate larger ships coming into the port.
Engineers and project managers presented aspects of safety, construction traffic, site development, engineering design, and project compliance. Nathan Lacy, a first-year MURP student, provided a sample of interesting facts from the presentation and shared his perspective on benefits of the site tour:
Each bridge segment is able to move independently during a natural disaster such as an earthquake. Another design feature of interest was the fortification of the bridge to withstand blast impacts from potential hostile actors. MURPs were able to take this knowledge along with that of the site development process back to school as part of their academic toolkit. The tour provided a profound learning experience and served to connect the MURP program’s academic rigor with true experiential learning.
Many thanks to the UCI MURP Alumni Council, Bryce Bunker, and Victoria Deguzman, METRANS Associate Director, for providing this opportunity for students, and to Nathan Lacy for his contributions of content for this article.