Artesia Bridge groundbreaking ceremony signals progress

The City of Compton received $12 million from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the State of California to fix the Artesia Bridge. There will be a lot of happy folks in Compton this summer when they see one of the main arteries in and out of the city is open again.

City officials and other luminaries held a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 17 to celebrate the re-opening of the bridge.

“I wanted to make sure we were able to get through this whole process and to try to make sure that we’re here now,” Compton Mayor Emma Sharif said in a phone interview with The Bulletin. “The community and everyone felt comfortable in knowing that this was going to be something that…was going to be completed, that we’re going to get this done. I think we just had to continue to remind the community that this is something that we’re going to make happen, that it is definitely going to take place.”

It just won’t be Compton residents celebrating.

The folks who live and do business in surrounding communities like Long Beach, Carson, and Los Angeles figure to be ecstatic when the longtime fixture, which runs along the 91 Freeway, and is often used as a gateway to the Crystal Casino, is finally cleared to handle the hustle and bustle of cars and trucks moving along its structure.

The formal gateway to the Port of Long Beach, the Artesia Bridge, which was snuffed out because of a fire that deemed the structure of the bridge unsafe, is expected to be open for business sometime this summer.

That’s a big sigh of relief for Sharif. Sharif said the bridge’s reopening is going to benefit everyone.

“We were all just trying to get through this process and trying to make sure that it actually did happen,” Sharif said. “It’s not about just me. It’s about what it’s going to do for this community because our residents have been having to find alternate routes to go to get back and forth across to where they were going.”

The bridge sits adjacent to the Gateway Towne Center, a hub of some of the main retailers in Compton, including Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, and Starbucks. Without question, those businesses and others have been severely impacted by the closure of the Artesia Bridge, which went out of operation in 2020.

Some businesses have been estimated to have lost as much as $150,000 to $400,000 weekly since the closure of the bridge. The deactivation of the Artesia Bridge impacted businesses. The city’s tourism took a hit. Compton Community College, which sits at the foot of the bridge, was left impacted by the shutdown as well.

Thanks to a charge led by Sen. Steven Bradford and Assemblyman Mike Gipson, the Artesia Bridge will once again be that thoroughfare to unlock the promise and potential of Compton.

“Of course, with the bridge being shut down, there’s been a lot of traffic congestion, even two accidents that I witnessed myself of people going through the barriers, not recognizing that the bridge was closed,” District 4 Councilwoman Lillie P. Darden said. “It has caused a lot of lost revenue for sales tax because people are not shopping because of the inconvenience and having the detour has been a big problem for our citizens. And it is a safety hazard.”


Dennis J. Freeman Written by:

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