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DEL MAR, Calif. — More efforts to stabilize the bluffs near the train tracks in Del Mar are a step closer to reality.

The Del Mar City Council heard from San Diego Association of Governments on Monday about the new stabilization project expected to be launched next year, but not everyone is happy about it.

In the meeting, SANDAG presented its latest project to improve bluff safety in Del Mar until the train tracks can be relocated off the bluffs. 

“It’s important to note that these major project features I will go over today all provide different types of production and all need to work together to a accomplish the goal of stabilizing the tracks,” SANDAG Senior Engineer Allie DeVaux said. “Much like a three-legged stool, if one of these components or legs of the stool is not constructed, it would leave the tracks vulnerable to instability.”

The plan’s main three legs include installing more soldier piles, extending the sea wall by 2,000 feet and making drainage improvements. However, some neighbors were not sold on the project.

“These so-called sea walls, that are actually retaining walls, will forever change the character of Del Mar. With riprap rating and backfill, the natural terrestrial habitat, that is a trademark of Del Mar and enjoyed by generations, will be lost forever,” neighbor John Stahl said.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $68 million.

“SANDAG wants to triple the amount of sea wall we already have. Please fight that with all your might. Beach walls are the worst thing you can do to the beach and all its inhabitants and will lead to ecological disaster,” neighbor Camilla Rang said. 

The plan still needs to be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission this week.

After the commission hearing, SANDAG hopes to start construction in spring of 2023 and have the project completed by 2026.