As part of a legal settlement, UC Irvine has agreed to spend $6.5 million to improve traffic around a proposed medical complex on the university campus, it was announced Wednesday.
After the university unveiled its plans for a 144-bed hospital on the campus in January, city officials filed a challenge to the environmental impact report approved by the University of California Board of Regents last month.
As part of the settlement, UCI will pay $4 million toward adding a roadway, bike lane and improving sidewalks to better connect pathways and reduce congestion on Jamboree Road. The university will chip in another $2.5 million to improve traffic on other roadways around the campus.
Officials going forward also pledged to work more closely together to handle other issues.
“The city of Irvine has always valued and maintained a good working relationship with the university,” Mayor Farrah N. Khan said in a statement. “Our collaborative history streamlined the process of coming to a mutually beneficial agreement for the city and one of our top educational institutions.”
Councilman Mike Carroll, who worked on the settlement agreement with the mayor, said it was a “crucial first step toward the city of Irvine working together with UCI to maintain Irvine’s quality of life.”
He added, “We couldn’t verify their traffic numbers before they approved their project, and while we support a new Irvine-based hospital, we need to put our residents’ concerns about traffic first, at the very forefront of discussions.”
UCI officials expect the medical complex on the university campus to complement its medical center in Orange. Construction on the $1 billion project is expected to start this year and officials hope doctors to begin seeing patients in 2025.