The Santa Fe underpass is one of four planned rail crossings in Encinitas, designed to improve pedestrian safety and coastal access along the San Diego portion of the busy Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor. Approximately 50 passenger and freight trains travel on the San Diego segment of the coastal rail line on weekdays. Illegal pedestrian crossings of the rail line and the rail right-of-way have been a frequent occurrence in the area. Before the completion of the project, the nearest legal rail crossings to Santa Fe Drive were half a mile north at E Street or 1.3 miles south at Chesterfield Drive.
"This new rail bridge and pedestrian undercrossing provide a convenient and safe way for pedestrians and cyclists to get from one side of the railroad to the other to access coastal recreational areas, cultural resources, historic Downtown Encinitas and our beautiful Coast Highway 101 corridor," Encinitas Mayor Teresa Arballo Barth said.
The project was a partnership between San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), North County Transit Didstrict (NCTD), Encinitas and the California Department of Transportation. SANDAG secured the funding and oversaw the construction. NCTD is the owner of the rail line and facilitated construction. The city of Encinitas contributed $1.25 million from its capital improvement program for design and construction and will maintain the crossing. The project also was made possible by state and regional transportation funding, including $2.75 million from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG.
CALTROP provided construction management services. T.Y. Lin International was the principal design/engineering firm and FLATIRON was the general contractor. Schmidt Design Group provided landscape architecture and design services.
In addition to Santa Fe, other crossings are planned in Encinitas at El Portal Street, Montgomery Avenue and Hillcrest Drive. The total cost of the four crossings is estimated at $25.7 million. Money still needs to be identified to complete the remaining three crossings.