RT&S Editor-in-Chief Bill Wilson has reported extensively on the challenges posed by the fragile Del Mar bluffs, and San Diego County's regional planning agency appears to be ready to take concrete action to address the tenuous situation.
Danny Veeh, a senior planner at SANDAG said, “The seaside segment on the Del Mar bluffs has been a problem since the railroad was built,” he said. “Erosion eats away at the bluffs at the average rate of 4 to 6 in. a year, and presents a viable threat to public safety.”
According to the Del Mar Times, the state of California awarded San Diego County’s regional planning agency a $300 million grant on Friday, Sept. 9, to move the train tracks off the Del Mar bluffs and to double-track the route between the San Dieguito Lagoon and Sorrento Valley.
Veeh said, “This is a momentous day. It’s larger than any other award that SANDAG has received to work on the LOSSAN corridor (the rail route from San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles to San Diego).” According to the Times, Veeh added that the 351-mile corridor handles $1 billion in goods and 8 million passengers annually.
While five new routes for the line were considered, all of which had tunnels, SANDAG is down to two options: the Camino Del Mar and Del Mar Heights options, both of which end in San Diego. Everyone generally agrees that the tracks must be moved off the Del Mar bluffs, but there is some resistance among some of the residents who may have train tunnels running beneath their homes.
According to the Times, residents are concerned about proximity to tunnel portals and ventilation shafts, along with vibrations from the line as trains run through the tunnels below.
Significant engineering work and planning lies ahead for SANDAG to address these challenges, and RT&S will continue to cover this important story.
For brief news updates and commentary, please follow me on Twitter @davidclesterRTS.