DEL MAR, Calif. — The San Diego Association of Governments released a report that shows what the future railroad tracks could look like when they are moved from the Del Mar Bluffs, further inland.
This comes after bluff erosion and the threat of sea levels rising have been a constant issue for the tracks and have resulted in several closures over the last year.
The 148-page report discusses several ideas of where exactly to move the tracks.
With the move, the tracks will be upgraded to create a double track, so trains don’t have to wait for one another to pass, plus creating straighter tracks, both would cut down on travel time. The plan details speeds up to 110 mph.
“The kind of high-speed transit that’s provided on the East Coast,” SANDAG Deputy CEO Coleen Clementson said. “There’s been a lot of discussion around a tunnel in Del Mar, but really what that tunnel is about, is a larger project, it’s the whole rail corridor from downtown San Diego that goes up the coast, all the way to San Luis Obispo.”
The track is responsible for moving nearly 8 million passengers and $1 billion in goods every year.
The two frontrunners so far, according to SANDAG, are the plans that run along Camino Del Mar and Crest Canyon. Both plans include a 33-foot diameter tunnel 290 feet below the ground.
Both plans would include passing under private property between Jimmy Durante Blvd and Carmel Valley Rd.
“This project has to happen so we will determine the best possible place is that minimizes the impact to the community,” Clementson said.
Clementson said they have received mixed reviews from the community on the project so far.
“There are definitely residents who are concerned about what this might mean for their property,” Clementson said.
“It’s the most logical thing to do when you consider all the options,” said Pat Abbott, a geologist professor at San Diego State University.
He says moving the tracks off the bluffs is a necessity.
“Fundamentally it’s San Diego catching up with the 21st century,” Abbott added.
The project is estimated to cost between $3-4 billion. SANDAG said they plan to use a mix of federal, state and local funds, with the potential to include funds from sales tax revenue.
SANDAG said they are hoping to have a plan finalized in 2026. Construction is expected to take seven years and the completion date is estimated for 2035, if all goes according to plan.
SANDAG is planning to hold the following upcoming public workshops to get the public’s input:
Oct. 4: Tunneling Workshop — 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Del Mar Town Hall
Oct. 19: Virtual Project Information Session — 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Online
Nov. 6: Alignment Workshop — 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Del Mar Town Hall