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Del mar undergrounding power lines
Once completed, the undergrounding project will help increase system capacity and reliability. Courtesy photo
Cities Community Del Mar News Region San Diego Solana Beach

SDG&E to begin undergrounding transmission lines on Via De La Valle

DEL MAR – San Diego Gas & Electric, or SDG&E, is set to begin its Del Mar Electric Transmission Line Reconfiguration Project as early as this week.

The project will include the undergrounding of a new transmission line approximately one-mile along Via De La Valle Road. The total project covers about seven miles and includes the cities of San Diego, Del Mar and a small portion of Solana Beach. The first phase of three will begin this week, according to SDG&E.

The undergrounding of approximately 1.1 miles of 12-kilovolt line will allow for the removal of five overhead poles in Del Mar, however the current overhead distribution lines on the shoulder of Via de la Valle will not be removed. In total, about 34 poles will be removed. SDG&E will also be installing two new poles near the Del Mar Horsepark. Additionally, an existing overhead power line will be undergrounded along San Dieguito and Racetrack View Drive.

Once completed, the project will help increase system capacity and reliability while also improving safety and aesthetics in surrounding communities.

“One of the benefits to the Del Mar community is the removal poles that are currently in the lagoon, and that is something that I think is going to have a really beautiful impact on a resource that’s very precious to the Del Mar community,” said Kristen Crane, Del Mar’s assistant city manager.

The total project covers about seven miles and includes the cities of San Diego, Del Mar and a small portion of Solana Beach.
The total project covers about seven miles and includes the cities of San Diego, Del Mar and a small portion of Solana Beach. Courtesy graphic

The 62 poles that are not removed in the impacted areas will be reconfigured, a process that involves removing the top level of a transmission pole and reducing it to just one level of wires.

Construction on Via De La Valle will mainly take place at night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., which is expected to lessen the project’s impact on traffic in the area.

Claudia Valenzuela, SDG&E’s regional public affairs manager, said they are also in regular communication with the 22nd District Agricultural Association, or DAA, about potential impacts to the Horsepark and the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“The [DAA] was obviously very much concerned, especially during Breeder’s Cup about the safety of the horses, the noise and things of that nature… so we definitely are going to keep in communication with them” Valenzuela said.

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“We know that if things start going back to a more normal schedule we’re going to have to make some adjustments, but at the same time, we want to keep the project moving forward. The more time we have to shorten construction or change our schedule, the longer the project will go as a whole. So we really would love to get in and out of there as quickly and safely as possible,” Valenzuela added.

Valenzuela said the portion of the project in the Horsepark is very minimal and is expected to wrap up by the time the fair season comes around.

The entire is expected to be completed by around February of 2023. The cost range for the project will be $20 to $40 million, according to SDG&E.

CORRECTION: SDG&E is installing new underground transmission lines along Via De La Valle Road, not undergrounding an existing line.

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