DEL MAR — The San Diego Association of Governments informed the Del Mar City Council about its plans to begin phase 4 of the bluff stabilization project as well as its future long-term plans during the Feb. 3 council meeting.
The process for the Del Mar bluff stabilization began in 2018 with environmental clearance, followed by permits and construction bids in 2019 and a notice to proceed issued to the contractor on Feb. 4, 2020.
Phase 4 will focus on the immediate repairs needed to stabilize the bluffs. These include repairing drainage structure and adding/repairing soldier piles, a strategy to retain wall integrity, using the increased budget of $5.78 million.
Construction for the repairs is estimated to begin next month. SANDAG Project Manager Allie DeVaux said construction will take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Noise from the work will occur during these times and lights used to work at night are intended only to be used away from residential areas.
Additionally, the contractor is still working on a traffic control and parking plan to minimize the impact construction may have on transportation.
The exact start date for the phase 4 construction is still being determined as they are waiting on their Del Mar Business License and Right of Entry permit.
DeVaux said that SANDAG has comprised a community outreach plan in order to disclose when development will begin before they mobilize.
“We will keep public and stakeholders informed,” DeVaux said. “Once we have a definite schedule.”
SANDAG is also working on long-term plans for bluff stabilization, beginning with phase 5 that will re-evaluate track stabilization, bluff retreat and drainage. Phase 6 will work to slow the bluff’s rate of retreat until an underground tunnel transportation can be afforded.
SANDAG Principal Engineer Bruce Smith said that over the next few months they will be working on a detailed analysis of the current state of the bluffs and its drainage systems as apart of beginning the process for phase 5.
The design for phase 5 is funded with $3.4 million, while the $24 million for construction is still unfunded. Smith said these projects can take time to get the proper funding.
“It’s not easy to find funding for these projects,” Smith said. “We set the budget for project 5 based on what we thought was a manageable amount of funding.”
However, Smith said that if funding was to come through for the tunnel transportation they would have to rethink phases 5 and 6, but they cannot hold off on moving forward due to risking extensive damage.
“If we were to have a large storm there would be damage,” Smith said. “If we were to have a large earthquake there would be damage.”
The bluff’s rate of erosion is estimated to be about an average of 6 inches per year.
City Councilman Dave Druker said it is vital that SANDAG focus on getting the train relocated.
“Getting this train off of this bluff has got to be a major concern,” Druker said. “It is very important that the study of a tunnel option advances as quickly as possible.”
To receive updates about the Del Mar Bluff Stabilization Project go to KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/DelMarBluffs or call the SANDAG hotline for any concerns at (858) 549-Rail.