LOS ANGELES — Former Vice President Joe Biden will return to Southern California Thursday in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, touring the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project in Long Beach before attending an evening fundraiser in Irvine.
The bridge project, which is expected to be completed this year, will replace the previous 1960s-era span at the Port of Long Beach with a 205-feet- high bridge designed to provide clearance for larger modern cargo ships. The original bridge is 155 feet above the water.
It will also include three traffic lanes in each direction — up from the previous two — along with emergency lanes and a bicycle/pedestrian path. According to port officials, the bridge is also a critical route for cargo trucks, with roughly 15% of the nation’s imported water-borne cargo traveling over the span.
The nearly $1.3 billion project is estimated to have created roughly 3,000 construction jobs.
Details of the Biden for President fundraiser in Irvine were not released.
Biden was last in the Southland to attend the Dec. 19 presidential debate at Loyola Marymount University. He also visited the area in early December, attending fundraisers in Los Angeles and Santa Monica.
Biden held a fundraiser Wednesday night at a Washington, D.C. law firm.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who had supported the candidacy of California Sen. Kamala Harris until she dropped out of the race, issued a statement Thursday endorsing Biden.
“I’m honored to endorse Joe Biden for President,” Garcia wrote. “As the Mayor of a growing, vibrant and diverse city, Donald Trump’s reckless attacks on immigrants, health care, and the LGBTQ community are deeply personal. Joe is a candidate that has both the experience and the ability to build a broad-based coalition needed to beat Donald Trump — not just here in California, but across the country. We’ve seen Joe bring people together time and time again to deliver results for working families, including right here in California.”