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New Bridge Takes Shape for the Nation’s Busiest Port

08.12.2016 | News
Since 1968, the Gerald Desmond Bridge has been a vital part of U.S. infrastructure, serving as major trade corridor that carries 15 percent of all containerized cargo imported to the United States through the Port of Long Beach, California. A new replacement structure will not only accommodate larger sizes of modern cargo ships, but also improve traffic flow and increase safety.


  • Doka Formwork Gerald Desmond Bridge
  • Pylon Gerald Desmond Bridge
To execute the octagonal design of the double pylon masts with each casting section, or jump, Doka is providing approximately 2,500 square feet of Top 50 formwork. Doka’s SKE automatic climbing platforms are also being used inside and outside of the pylons to jump the Top 50 formwork system in 31 casting steps. Each casting step is 18 feet high and performed in an eight-day cycle. The SKE climbing brackets enable easy hydraulic climbing, without the need for cranes.

Individual formwork parts were pre-assembled by the Doka team to ensure tight form joints and a best-in-class joint pattern, even with the challenging geometry of the pylons.

The pre-assembly team also ensured all custom components (i.e., splices and walers) connected to each other correctly via preconstruction mock-ups—so potential problems were resolved before the equipment reached the jobsite. The mock-ups were especially important because of the high number of custom components required for the unique formwork/climbing platform configuration.

The Facts

Project name: Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project
Location: I-710 Long Beach, California
Type of project: Double pylon masts for cable-stayed bridge
General contractor and/or architect: Shimmick Construction Co. Inc., FCC Construction S.A. and Impregilo S.p.A.
Square footage: approx. 2,500 of formwork
Doka Products Used: Large-area formwork Top 50, Automatic-climbing formwork SKE plus, Framed formwork Frami Xlife
Start and scheduled end of work: Early 2015 – June 2018

The Challenge

The particular challenge in constructing the double pylon masts lies in their octagonal design, which tapers as it rises in height.

The Solution

In early 2015, Doka joined the construction team to supply a constant-changing custom formwork solution that can achieve the narrowing silhouette. The bridge’s two 516-foot-tall concrete towers, or pylons, will be seen for miles, with cables extending from them to connect to the bridge deck and support its 2,000-footlong span. Construction began in 2013. When complete, it will be the first cable-stayed bridge in California—and the tallest of its kind.

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