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underpass structure pedestrian path buried bridge

Project Spotlight: Great Park

By: Big R Bridge

underpass structure pedestrian path buried bridge

The Great Park project consisted of redevelopment of the former El Toro Marine base in Irvine, CA. The El Toro marine base was built after the bombing of Pearl Harbor to providea blimp base for antisubmarine patrols for the Los Angeles harbor. After World War II the based was repurposed to be the center for Marine aviation on the west coast. During the Korean War the base was used as a jumping off point for units headed for combat. During the ensuing years growth of Orange County resulted in a sea of subdivisions and development encroaching on the base. El Toro officially closed in 1999 and there were many discussions about whether the property would be converted to a regional airport or used for other purposes. Ultimately, the decision was made to use the property for community and residential development.

underpass structure pedestrian path buried bridge

Great Park is an arts and entertainment hub that includes 688 acres of new parkland, a 194 acre sports park complex, visitor center, history museum, residential development, and other community amenities. As part of the development of the property, the City of Irvine wanted to preserve some of the history of the El Toro Marine base and incorporate features into the new construction. Portions of the runway exist in its original condition and and much of it was recycled into the new construction as fill materials, park benches, and other features.

underpass structure pedestrian path buried bridge

The development of the greenway belt included a meandering pedestrian path that crossed below several new roads. The pedestrian path included four underpass structures. When evaluating structure options for the underpass structures there was a desire to find a structure type that resembled the arched look of the old blimp hangars from El Toro and could accommodate lighting and other features to enhance the safety and aesthetics of the path. Buried bridges designed and manufactured by Big R Bridge provided exactly the look the architect had in mind. Big R Bridge engineers worked closely with the design team to develop the best geometry and accommodate the special features that were needed. The four crossings provided a signature look for the park and were well received by the public. The structures are also truly green. Not only do the galvanized steel structures include at least 70-90% recycled materials; they were also backfilled with granular fill derived from the concrete runways at El Toro. This fit in well with the sustainability goals of the project. If you walk the path you will see park benches constructed from portions of the El Toro runways.

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For more information on this and the many other benefits of Corrugated Steel Pipe, contact us by calling (972) 850-1907 or visiting NCSPA.org.

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