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Encinitas mosaics
This photo depicts 27 mosaics from the north side of the Santa Fe Drive undercrossing in Encinitas. Individual photos and collage by Jim Babwe
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Mosaic panels decorate upgraded Santa Fe Drive undercrossing

ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas installed 53 mosaic panels for permanent display at the redesigned Santa Fe Drive undercrossing as part of the Caltrans and SANDAG Build North Coast Corridor (Build NCC) project.

The mosaics were designed by Encinitas-area high school, college and independent artists reflecting the geography and spirit of the city. Artists that were interested in designing a mosaic submitted applications which were evaluated by the Encinitas Commission for the Arts and approved by Encinitas City Council.

The new public art installation, entitled “Encinitas Up Close,” reflects the culture of the five communities of Encinitas (Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff, Olivenhein) and the mosaics depict local flora and fauna, including people, abstract or representational in form.

Encinitas mosaics
This photo depicts 27 mosaics from the south side of the Santa Fe Drive undercrossing in Encinitas. Individual photos and collage by Jim Babwe

“We are so pleased with the quality of the mosaics,” said Jim Gilliam, Encinitas arts program administrator.  “The artists put in so much time, talent and effort and it shows. [They] will be a lifelong tribute to their artistry.”

The mosaic panels, 3-feet-by-5-feet in size, were designed for the north and south walls of the bike and pedestrian lanes to enhance the use by the public. Frames for the mosaics were inset into the undercrossing walls to give the sense of an outdoor art exhibition.

“These custom, individual mosaics are a fantastic addition in the city of Encinitas,” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We are blessed with artistic talent and passion, and being able to harness that creativity into these large displays alongside a new pedestrian and bike path is incredible to see.”

Santa Fe Drive mosaics
A jogger catches a glimpse of the newly installed mosaic art display at Santa Fe Drive undercrossing in Encinitas. Courtesy photo

In July 2020, Caltrans and SANDAG completed new bicycle and pedestrian paths under Interstate 5 at Santa Fe Drive and Encinitas Boulevard.

The construction included ADA-compliant sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes, separated from traffic by concrete barriers, lining both the north and south sides of each street.

The completion of this project is part of a comprehensive set of Build NCC projects that includes restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, replacing the San Elijo Lagoon highway bridge, constructing one new carpool lane in each direction on I-5 between Manchester Avenue in Encinitas and Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad, constructing sound walls, and building the 7-mile North Coast Bike Trail.

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