By Brian Park
The Reata Park and Event Center will serve as a temporary base of operations for the Orange County Fire Authority during the upcoming closure of the Ortega Highway overpass.
As part of the ongoing Ortega/Interstate 5 interchange project, Caltrans is scheduled to close Ortega, from the bridge to Del Obispo Street, for about three weeks, starting in mid-September. Construction crews will be realigning Ortega to curve into Del Obispo.
During that time, OCFA will be allowed to use a portion of the city’s newest park to mitigate any delays in emergency service to the eastern portions of San Juan Capistrano, following the City Council’s unanimous approval on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
OCFA Station No. 7, located west of the overpass on Del Obispo Street, will have limited access during the closure.
The temporary station will house a fifth wheel trailer, a fire engine, a temporary awning and three OCFA personnel, including a paramedic. OCFA will use the site from August 8 through November 30 and will have personnel on sight 24 hours a day.
It will cost OCFA between $15,000 to $20,000 to operate the station. The city will provide trash and water service for about $647.50.
In March, OCFA held a groundbreaking ceremony for its newest station, No. 56, located in the first village of Rancho Mission Viejo, Sendero. The station will be completed in about 10 to 12 months, according to Division Chief Kirk Wells.