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New fractures discovered in hillside above road to Del Mar Fairgrounds

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Work to stabilize a hillside above the road connecting Del Mar to the Del Mar Fairgrounds has come to a halt after new fractures were discovered in the hillside.

A landslide from the bluff dumped dirt, debris and trees on Jimmy Durante Boulevard in old Del Mar on April 21, blocking the most of the roadway. The city promised to stabilizing the hillside before Memorial Day so that the road would be open to traffic in time for the Del Mar Fair. But work has stopped.

"They committed to work overtime, and they committed to work late hours," said Del Mar resident Lynn Kunkle, who was not happy to find no one working Monday. "Now here it is midday and nobody is here working."

The road is a popular shortcut to the race track and Interstate 5. Kunkle said it gets very busy once the fair starts. "The fair goes on and the traffic just lines up down Coast Boulevard, he said.

Two homes on Seaview Avenue on top of the bluff are right above the slide zone. Architect Dean Meredith is building one of them. The custom homebuilder said its standard protocol on all his projects to have a soil expert examine the property before he even starts drawing.

“Our soils engineer tested the bluff before we bought the property.  We made sure its sound and we are not impacting the bluff in anyway,” Meredith said.

At this point, the city of Del Mar has not determined the cause of the landslide. City officials say their priority is to stabilize the slope, while protecting the private and public property.  And they are racing against time in the hope of making the road safe in time for the start of the Del Mar fair on May 31.

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