Updated Port of LB app gives look into construction, traffic updates for Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project

LB Bridge interface allows for ‘modern’ insight into development, which is slated for late 2019 completion


Screenshot from LB Bridge app

A screenshot of one of the live webcams available through the LB Bridge app, where users are able to access any of the three webcams or check the app for updates on traffic surrounding the bridge.

As work on the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project approaches its completion date of late 2019, the Port of Long Beach has rolled out the first major upgrade to its LB Bridge smartphone application the last week of December.

The application, which launched in 2014, is meant to keep drivers informed of scheduled traffic delays and provide them with real-time news about the project.

In a recent Port of Long Beach press release, Duane Kenagy, the port’s capital-programs executive, said that, “Our primary goal with the mobile app is to keep motorists, port workers and others informed on a real-time basis on the construction progress and assist them in navigating detours.”

Although originally designed to provide construction updates, the app now provides other features. Through the interface, users can access podcasts about construction delays every week. Also, officials are providing three separate camera feeds that show live shots of the bridge’s construction, in addition to a time-lapse video.

Moreover, drivers can now sign up for a weekly newsletter about detours, closures and facts about the new bridge. It will also allow them to sign up for free monthly tours of the construction site or request a community presentation. The app also includes photos, videos and stories about the progress of the project and the people involved in its construction.

Other improvements to the app include integrating Google Maps to its interface and improving its “push notifications” feature to better update users to traffic jams as they happen.

According to Port of Long Beach Public Relations Manager Lee Peterson, the update is intended to modernize the aesthetic of the LB Bridge application.

“We’ve always had the webcam and the podcast,” Peterson told the Signal Tribune in a phone interview Jan. 2. “But, as you know, one of the things that also happen with apps is that they have to be updated along the way or they lose their functionality in regard to people using them. That’s why we mainly set out to update it, but we find that this app is much more responsive for people on their phone.”

Denis Wolcott, a spokesperson for Westbound Communications who helps run the application, elaborated on the system’s improved notification system.

“We wanted to make sure we had the capability to do instant notifications,” Wolcott told the Signal Tribune. “So, if there was some kind of problem, like a traffic impact, a truck broke down on the bridge or something like that, we wanted to make sure our app had the latest technology to do these kinds of instant notifications to our users.

The app will continue its service into late 2019, when the construction on the new bridge is expected to be completed. The updated bridge is described as a “cable-stayed” bridge and will include six lanes of traffic, four emergency shoulder lanes, higher clearance for cargo ships and improved transition ramps and connectors to improve the flow of traffic. It will also include a scenic pedestrian and bike path.

The $1.47-billion project broke ground in 2013 to replace the older Gerald Desmond Bridge that was built in the mid-1960s. The original bridge was named after Gerald “Jerry” Desmond, who served as a prominent Long Beach City Councilmember and as the Long Beach City Attorney. Desmond died in 1964– four years before the original bridge was completed.

The app can be found on the Apple App Store or the Google Play by searching “LB Bridge.” It can also be found on the project’s website at bit.ly/2F4xD0y.