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Officials hope to speed up Del Mar bluff stabilization to prevent collapses

Del Mar bluff collapse.png
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 20:49:01-05

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — Back in late February, a massive chunk of the bluff in Del Mar came down. The pile of earth sill sits there. Above it where the train tracks are now even closer to the edge, work is being done to stabilize the area.

But ultimately, officials hope to retrofit the tracks away from the bluffs.

"When you have all these trains going by especially heavy freight trains just puts a lot of burden on the land," said Del Mar resident Tita Den.


In January, SANDAG and the North County Transit District completed the fourth phase of a project to stabilize the bluffs. That work, which began in May 2020, included installing additional support columns to stabilize localized areas and sea walls, constructing a drainage channel along the top of the bluffs, and improvements to concrete channels and storm drain outfalls.

Phase 5 was scheduled to begin in 2023, but there's now talk of speeding things up. That work will include projects to address seismic and critical stabilization needs, including the installation of more support columns and replacing aging drainage systems.

The sixth and final phase is intended to provide long-term rehabilitation and stabilization work, including protecting the base of the bluffs from retreating.

SANDAG and NCTD are seeking $100 million to accelerate the final two phases of stabilization projects.

But all of that is a temporary fix. The long-term goal is to build a completely new route, away from the bluffs.

The San Diego Regional Rail Corridor Alternative Alignment and Improvements Conceptual Engineering Study maps several potential alternative routes, all of which would require tunnels going underground the City of Del Mar:

"We'd probably like to see it go inland a little bit and it's unfortunate cause it's such a beautiful scenery here on a train," said Den.

There's no estimate though on when that project could begin, but it's expected to cost billions of dollars and still needs approval from multiple authorities.