The final stage of emergency construction on the Del Mar bluffs begins this month.
The bluff collapsed back in February. It was the second time over the last two years, with the first happening on Thanksgiving Day 2019. Railroad tracks run across the bluffs and train activity is only expected to increase in the coming years.
Crews have been working on emergency work since the February incident, and the seawall just south of Fourth Street is in the final stage of $11 million in emergency repairs. The fix was necessary to protect the tracks.
Construction is set to begin in the coming days on another seawall that will be 300 ft long. This will serve as the final stage of the emergency work, which did not have to be approved by the California Coastal Commission before construction could begin. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and other agencies are allowed to conduct emergency repairs on the bluffs immediately and seek approvals later. The California Coastal Commission is against the construction of seawalls, but in this case an exception was made.
Building the final seawall will include placing more concrete-and-steel piles at beach level, then placing wooden beams between them to form the seawall.
Two studies were released by SANDAG in August stressing the need to control storm-water runoff in an effort to help prevent the rapid erosion of the upper levels of the bluffs. The study provided a list of 15 storm-water drainage improvements that could be part of the next round of construction. Work on the fifth phase will begin in 2023.