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The city will coordinate with the property owners and utility companies before starting a bid process. Photo by Dan Brendel
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Del Mar City Council advances pilot utility undergrounding project

DEL MAR — As part of the citywide undergrounding project, the Del Mar City Council has moved forward with a project to underground utilities along 10th Street and into Tewa Court with work not expected to begin until next year.

The project was delayed last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was recently picked up again by the council before formally approved and funds were allocated this week.

The council has allocated $635,220 in funds from Measure Q to complete the project.

“In the case for this project, the designs for SDG&E, Spectrum and AT&T were privately funded by the residents of the area and now the city is going to be taking over this project,” Kristen Crane, assistant city manager for Del Mar.

The next steps will include coordinating with the property owners and utility companies before beginning a bid process for the contractor the city will use.

“That also involves identifying all the other utilities that are out in the area, doing a survey to make sure we’ve identified what the existing conditions are and understanding the topography of the area as well,” Crane said.

The bidding process is expected to begin in November with a contract being awarded in January before construction begins.

Construction is expected to take three months to complete.

This will be just the beginning of undergrounding projects in Del Mar as more undergrounding districts are expected to be created in the coming months. Districts 1A and X1A represent areas in the southern and eastern parts of the city respectively and are expected to be created soon to get more undergrounding done as quickly as possible

“We’re going to be back here launching the districts 1A and X1A stat after this,” Mayor Terry Gaasterland said.

Del Mar resident Rene Grevas was one of two public speakers who gave comments in support of the project moving forward.

“I sent a letter along with my husband supporting this utility undergrounding district and I must say it was such a pleasure to be so united with neighbors,” Grevas said. “This is the first time we’ve all been in unison on a subject and it’s just been a delight to be part of Del Mar and neighborhood and be a part of this effort.”

The only council member opposed to the motion, Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden, shared his concerns with the process in which this has gone through. When Del Mar began this process the undergrounding project advisory committee (UPAC) advised the council to use the Stratford area as a pilot program for the citywide project.

“They went through a fairly detailed process to study all of that and they identified the Stratford area 1A as the best pilot area,” Worden said. “And now we are proposing to step away from all of that and do Tewa as a test project without even routing it back through UPAC to get their input on whether or not it’s a good idea. So as a matter of process I’m unable to support doing this. I do view it as an inappropriate jumping of the line.”

Worden also noted he does not plan on acting as a roadblock for the work and in fact did vote yes on the funds allocation for the Tewa project.