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OC Register: More projects in the works at Tustin Legacy

by Kelly Zhou

TUSTIN – The city is moving forward with construction projects at Tustin Legacy, including building extensions to Warner and Armstrong avenues that will help lay the infrastructure groundwork at the former base.

Here’s a look at the status of various projects that are wrapping up or are in the works. Upcoming improvements on Bell Avenue, Moffett Drive, Park Avenue and Peters Canyon Channel will total $42 million.

No more roadblocks on Barranca: The $15 million widening project along Barranca Parkway (from Aston Street to Tustin Ranch Road) is expected to be finished in September or October, said Ken Nishikawa, the city's deputy director of public works.

An additional lane is being added on the westbound side of Barranca to increase capacity. There will be dual left turns at certain intersections. Going eastbound on Barranca Parkway, there will be two left turn lanes onto Tustin Ranch Road, instead of one. The Barranca stormwater channel was moved underground to make room for the widening, and a sewer line was added as well.

Warner and Armstrong: Work has already started on the Warner and Armstrong avenue extensions and is expected to be done by spring 2015. Armstrong Avenue, which currently dead-ends at Warner Avenue, will be extended to Barranca Parkway. Warner will be extended from Red Hill to the new Tustin Ranch Road, which opened in November.

“It's going to open up the bottom portion of Tustin Legacy,” Nishikawa said.

The roads are the next steps in building backbone infrastructure at The Legacy, formerly the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Tustin base. In April, the City Council approved spending $13.5 million for phase 2 construction for the two roads.

Building out Bell: An extension on Bell Avenue and a storm drain on Moffett Drive are the next projects, probably starting in 2015 and finishing in 2016, Nishikawa said.

Bell Avenue now dead-ends at Red Hill Avenue on the west side of the Legacy, near the Orange County Rescue Mission. It will be built out to Armstrong Avenue to the tune of $3 million, half of which will be funded by the South Orange County Community College District, whose property surrounds the road. And work is needed to build a storm drain at Moffett Drive, to drain the northern portion of Tustin Legacy.

Moffett Drive endeavors: Alongside the Bell Avenue project, the city is planning to build a storm drain on Moffett Drive to drain the northern portion of Tustin Legacy. Construction is estimated to start in 2015 as well.

The city is also planning to build a bridge to connect Moffett Drive from Irvine to Tustin to increase access and street connectivity; the road dead-ends at the Peters Canyon Channel. Moffett Drive will be extended from Park Avenue to east of Peters Canyon Channel. All of the work on Moffett is estimated to cost $17 million. Nearby, Park Avenue will be extended from Victory Road to Moffett Drive, at an estimated $2 million.

Boosting a stormwater channel: The Peters Canyon Channel has to be widened by 30 feet on the east side, to keep up with increased development in the county. Construction will include a regional bike and hiking trail and is estimated to cost $17 million. The bridge and channel work will probably start in 2016 and take a few years, Nishikawa said.

Engineering design consultants for the upcoming construction projects, at $1.9 million, were approved at the July 15 City Council meeting. The $1.9 million is part of the total $42 million cost.