- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - After extensive preparatory work, construction crews are pouring the foundation of a bridge that will replace an aging span at the Port of Long Beach.

The new Gerald Desmond Bridge will help connect the seaports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together handle 40 percent of the nation’s import trade.

On Wednesday, port officials celebrated the pouring of concrete that will anchor the bridge in the ground, next to the existing span.

The new pilings will be the first visible progress on the $1.3 billion bridge.

Since a groundbreaking in 2013, construction crews have focused on site preparation, including the removal of old oil wells.

The project was supposed to be completed by 2016, but delays pushed the ribbon-cutting to as late as the middle of 2018.

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