In an effort to add some muscle to the cliffs of Del Mar, workers began the fourth of a six-part stabilization effort on May 11. Erosion has plagued the Del Mar cliffs for decades, if not centuries, but with storms becoming stronger and the sea level rising the problem is becoming more challenging. A railroad track runs along the cliffs, and the route is used by freight and passenger trains.
The fourth stage, which will cost $6.8 million, involves replacing part of a concrete storm-water channel along the hill above the railroad tracks, tending to other drainage structures to see if they need to be fixed or replaced and installing more steel columns in the most vulnerable areas. However, phase four already is seeing a setback as it appears the steel I beams are on backorder and it is unclear when they will arrive at the site.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), which uses the track daily, is already working on the fifth stage of work, which will call for more steel I beams, seismic reinforcement, drainage improvements and sea walls at the base of the cliffs. The cost will be about $70 million, but funding currently is not available. The sixth stage is expected to cost $30 million.
There are currently more than 200 steel I beams in place providing protection, with some as deep as 70 ft into the ground.
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