The Coast News Group
Bicycle and pedestrian improvements at the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Courtesy photo
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SANDAG and Caltrans enhance rail safety in Encinitas and Carlsbad

As Rail Safety Month draws to a close, Caltrans and SANDAG would like to remind the traveling public of their commitment to rail line safety.

Through extensive collaboration and partnership with North County Transit District (NCTD), the Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC construction program completed the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track project in spring 2019. The project added 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon and replaced the more than 80-year-old wooden trestle San Elijo Lagoon rail bridge with a modern, double track, concrete bridge.

The project also included a series of safety upgrades to the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. This at-grade crossing was reconstructed to feature a new multi-use Class I bikeway and pedestrian path and ADA-accessible sidewalk and ramps. New traffic signals, rail crossing equipment, and gates were installed along with a modernized and enhanced crossing warning system. With additional funding and support from the City of Encinitas, these improvements helped the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing achieve a Quiet Zone designation from the Federal Railroad Administration. Additionally, a new pedestrian undercrossing was constructed at the south end of the San Elijo Lagoon, connecting the lagoon’s trail network with Harbaugh Seaside Trails in northern Solana Beach.

In the City of Carlsbad, the Poinsettia Station Improvements project, completed earlier this year, renovated the station with new amenities to enhance pedestrian safety and access, as well as improve traveler wait times and reduce train delays. By relocating the existing tracks, Caltrans, SANDAG, and NCTD construction crews were able to lengthen the station’s platforms to 1,000 feet to accommodate longer trains and elevate platforms to 15” to facilitate level boarding for Amtrak passengers. The station’s at-grade rail crossings were replaced with a new grade-separated station undercrossing that enhances safety for riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Caltrans and SANDAG look forward to implementing additional rail safety efforts in partnership with NCTD throughout the North Coast Corridor and remind the traveling public to exercise caution when approaching the rail line at all lawfully designated crossings and station platforms. Remember, it can take more than one mile to stop a train. See Tracks? Think Train!

For more information on the Caltrans and SANDAG Build NCC construction program, please visit, email [email protected], or call 844-NCC-0050.

About Build NCC

Build NCC is a collaborative effort between the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, and the United States Department of Transportation.

The first phase of construction is in the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad as part of the North Coast Corridor Program. Build NCC includes extending the existing carpool lane on I-5 in each direction from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to State Route 78, double tracking the rail line and replacing the highway and rail bridges at the San Elijo Lagoon, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and constructing nearly seven miles of new bike and pedestrian trails. Construction on Build NCC began in early 2017 and will be complete by 2022.