SAN DIEGO — A key state grant was announced Monday that will help replace a bridge in the North County and would allow for easier access to events at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
A $100 million grant from the State of California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program was awarded to advance to phase two of the San Dieguito Bridge Replacement, Double Track and Special Events Platform Project.
“A trip from San Diego to Los Angeles takes three and a half hours. We want to make sure that trip takes less than two hours and replacing the bridge that we got the grant for and moving the track off the bluff is exactly what we need to do,” said Hasan Ikhrata, CEO of SANDAG.
The San Dieguito bridge is 107 years old and nearing the end of its life. This project would not only work to replace the bridge, but also double track through the area allowing it to service more trains.
Just a few months ago, SANDAG and NCTD were granted $300 million in state funding toward the goal of moving the tracks away from the bluffs by 2030.
“We had a few bluff collapses in my tenure here, where we had to slow the trains down, so this corridor needs attention and this grant is welcome to use. It says we are serious about moving forward,” Ikhrata said.
Also in the works, a platform at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, to be accessible during special events like the San Diego County Fair, concerts or racing season.
“We have a lot of work to do and some opposition will be there no question about it, but any major infrastructure project in the world is going to go through this kind of discussion,” Ikhrata said.
SANDAG says it is ready to start construction on the bridge and platform improvement project as soon as a last round of funding comes through from the federal government.