SANDAG proposes $3 billion plan to move Del Mar train tracks

DEL MAR, Calif. -- The San Diego Association of Governments is looking for a permanent solution to bluff erosion in Del Mar, where 1.6 miles of train tracks run.

Geologist say rising sea levels, rain, irrigation and the train itself have slowly eroded the bluffs, causing several bluff collapses.

At a Del Mar City Council meeting Monday night, SANDAG representatives discussed their continued efforts to stabilize the most vulnerable areas of the bluffs.  They also presented five options that would move the tracks off of the bluffs and underground.

“So far these are just very wide lines on a map. So we need to do some additional engineering and environmental studies first," said SANDAG Director of Mobility Management Jim Linthicum.

Linthicum said moving the train tracks could cost as much as $3 billion. The target completion date is 2050.

Frank Stonebanks, founder of Citizens For Access to Del Mar Beach/Bluffs/Trails, has been petitioning for the tracks to be moved for years.

“I don’t take my family down to those bluffs anymore," Stonebanks said. "They are too unstable. They are too dangerous. We’ve had at least six slides in the last four months, some of them major."

Until the tracks are moved, engineers will continue to keep a close eye on the bluffs.

"We just need to continue to monitor the bluffs and make sure that we’re retrofitting and protecting the most vulnerable areas," Linthicum said. "If things change over time, we want to make sure we bring focus to that area.”

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