The Coast News Group
Del Mar City Hall. File photo
Del Mar City Hall. File photo
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Del Mar council allocates more funds for utility undergrounding project

DEL MAR — The city’s planned utility undergrounding project along Tewa Court and 10th Street has yet to begin construction but the Del Mar City Council has allocated $27,950 in additional capital from Measure Q funds for any unexpected pre-construction costs.

Assistant City Manager Kristen Crane said despite additional costs, the pre-construction process has moved smoothly.

“There’s been additional design work by all three utilities that’s been required in addition to the designs that were completed prior to the city taking over the project,” Crane said.

The city has already spent $10,000 on more detailed survey work at certain properties on Tewa Court and 10th Street, documenting topography changes to determine if retaining walls are necessary. One retaining wall will be installed adjacent to a property on Kilish Way.

The city also paid AT&T $2,000 for additional design work.

The total costs for the design and surveying related to the retaining wall, totaling $14,500, will be allocated from the city’s Measure Q Fund, which was established after Del Mar voters passed a 2016 ballot measure to increase the sales tax by 1%.

“As we’re removing poles and overhead wires, it’s going to require that there be infrastructure that’s on those poles that need to be placed both underground and above ground,” Crane said. “SDG&E requires there be a three-foot clearance behind the infrastructure. So we have one area where we don’t have that clearance and will need to have a retaining wall.”

The council approved both a design review and land conservation permits for the retaining wall at Monday’s council meeting but will consider options for the style of wall at a future council meeting.

Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden said the right thing for the city to do is to make sure they take their time through the entire undergrounding project to show the community they can continue future undergrounding projects.

“If it takes staff to the December council meeting to get that done and have it in front of us, so be it,” Worden said. “In the scheme of things, we owe it to ourselves and our community to do the best we can — to do this right.”

The city has further plans for utility undergrounding beyond the Tewa Court and 10th Street project.

Following the fund allocation and approval of permits for the retaining wall, the city is still working on finalizing a design and initiating the bid process for construction.

Del Mar plans on awarding a construction bid during next year’s Feb. 7 council meeting, with construction beginning at the end of that month.