The Irvine City Council, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, unanimously approved a $1.8 million contract for the removal of abandoned underground utilities that once powered portions of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. The contract, awarded to Cerritos-based abatement and demolition contracting firm Resources Environmental, Inc., was the lowest responsive bid for the project and is expected to begin this spring.   

Officially known as the Northern Sector Utility Removal, the project is located near the ARDA site between Cadence and Great Park Boulevard. A staff report indicated that the area is rich in subterranean utility infrastructure once used to power support buildings, runways, hangars, and administrative offices at the former MCAS El Toro. 

Irvine City Manager Oliver Chi said that while this project might not seem significant in terms of a dollar amount, he explained that the completion of the Northern Utility Removal will prepare the northern area of the Great Park for the phases of the city’s $1 billion Framework plan, which includes the topographical shaping of the park’s central lake and great meadow.    

“This contract, it’s not a big dollar amount, but it’s the start of our mass grading effort. This actually kicks off the construction process that’s going to span the next five years, to transform what is currently just mounds and mounds of dirt, into the next great metropolitan park on the west coast, right here in Irvine,” he said.

Council member Larry Agran echoed Chi’s comments regarding the importance of this work while touching on the historical significance of the site.   

“This is an important project – ripping up ancient utility lines, it’s tough, difficult, unglamorous work, but it’s essential to the transformation of the former military base and to the great metropolitan park that we’re now well along with,” Agran said.   

The utility removal project is expected to be completed by Fall 2024. 

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