Update to clarify trail opening and to add details from a city news release.
For about 30 minutes this 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 on Monday to a lookout parking lot of Canyon Watch Park on San Joaquin Hills Road. About 9 a.m. today, the helicopter flew in to begin the installation process. In Harbor View Hills South, Spyglass and other neighborhoods, residents stood in their back yards, 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 complete.
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 Company, and Atlas and Irvine Ranch 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.
Read our earlier stories here, here and here.
Photos courtesy of the City of Newport Beach.