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Corona del Mar Today: Helicopter picks up, moves bridges

April 28, 2012
  • Corona del Mar residents focused on the Upper Buck Gully as they watched a helicopter lower four metal bridges that are part of a new trail project's final components.
Corona del Mar residents focused on the Upper Buck Gully… (Amy Senk, Daily…)

For about 30 minutes Wednesday morning, many Corona del Mar residents were focused on Upper Buck Gully, watching as a helicopter picked up and moved into place four metal bridges that are part of a new trail project's final components.

The bridges were fabricated offsite and delivered Monday to a lookout parking lot of Canyon Watch Park on San Joaquin Hills Road.

About 9 a.m., the helicopter flew in to begin the installation process. In Harbor View Hills South, Spyglass and other neighborhoods, residents stood in their backyards, watching the helicopter fly back and forth to set the bridges on waiting footings that were built late last year.

The looped trail path begins at Fifth and Poppy avenues and will connect to San Joaquin Hills Road.

It will open in late May to the public, city officials said.

Police briefly closed San Joaquin Hills Road at Spyglass Hill Road, stopping traffic while the helicopter moved the bridges. By 9:30 a.m., the installation was completed.

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According to a city news release, the helicopter operation was organized by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and included Newport Beach staff and Federal Aviation Administration officials.

"The bridges were fabricated in Florida and transported by semi-truck cross-country and weigh more than 3,000 pounds," the news release states. The bridges are up to 50 feet long, the statement said.

The helicopter pilot was Glenn Smith of Atlas Aircraft Helicopter Co., and Atlas and conservancy staff and volunteers worked to secure the park.

"The next steps before the May 30 reopening will be to bolt the bridges in place and build ramps to the bridges where needed," the stamen said.

The conservancy also plans to add benches along the trails, new access gates and informational kiosks at trailheads.

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Signs to mark walk route

The Corona del Mar Scenic 5K route will be marked this year with signs and not paint or chalk, the CdM Chamber of Commerce president said.

"It's more labor intensive," President Linda Leonhard told the board of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District. "But it was something we have to do."

A year ago, route marks on Corona del Mar streets remained in place for nearly two months after the event, despite claims that the marks were temporary and would quickly fade. A resident complained, and the city spent $495 to remove about 100 individual marks.

Leonhard said runners prefer to have the marks instead of signs because marks can be made many days before the racing event.

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