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Phase 4 of Del Mar Bluffs Stabilization Project is complete

Written by Sebastian Acosta

Phase 4 of the six-phase Del Mar Bluffs stabilization project was completed and celebrated Wednesday morning by the San Diego Association of Governments, North County Transit District, Caltrans District 11, and the City of Del Mar. 

The $5.8-million phase began in May 2020 and included the installation of additional support columns to stabilize localized areas and sea walls, the construction of a drainage channel on top of the bluffs, the repair of concrete channels and storm drain outfalls, and stabilization of existing headwalls.

According to SANDAG, the bluff experiences roughly six inches of erosion on average every year. The drainage infrastructure will redirect water and help protect the bluffs. The Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor runs through the coastal bluffs. 

“The completion of this work demonstrates significant progress in our multi-phased strategy to secure the Del Mar Bluffs and ensure continued reliability of this important corridor,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “SANDAG is currently evaluating long-term alternatives to completely move the tracks off the bluffs to ensure the safe operation of the LOSSAN rail corridor, which serves nearly 8 million passengers annually, and is a major economic lifeline for San Diego County.”

Last month, the California Transportation Commission awarded the San Diego region $106 million to be used for rail enhancement projects along the LOSSAN rail corridor, including $36.2 million to be used in Phase 5 of the stabilization project which is scheduled to begin in 2022.

Phase 5 will include the installation of more support columns and the replacement of aging drainage structures. Phase 6 will then continue to provide long-term rehabilitation and stabilization work.

“The Del Mar bluff stabilization efforts address the immediate concern to preserve track-bed support and ensure safe, reliable raile service for passengers and freight movement,” said Del Mayo Terry Gaasterland. “The city of Del Mar, SANDAG, NCTD, and Caltrans have worked together to complete Phase 5 bluff stabilization. I applaud their unwavering commitment to the long-term goal of removing the railroad from the bluffs.”

Photo via Keep San Diego Moving