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Public Transit

Del Mar Bluffs Stabilization Project

SANDAG and the North County Transit District (NCTD) are leading efforts to stabilize portions of the coastal bluffs in the City of Del Mar. This integral part of the 351-mile Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor is a vital link for passenger and freight movements within San Diego County, as well as between San Diego, Los Angeles, and points farther north.

In late February 2021, a bluff collapse just south of 4th Street in Del Mar resulted in a slowdown of train traffic through Del Mar. SANDAG and NCTD worked quickly to ensure safety and reliability along the line, for the region and the entire LOSSAN Rail Corridor. Emergency repairs included installing support columns into the bluffs to protect the tracks, rebuilding the bluff slope from the bottom up, installing sea walls to protect the toe of the bluffs, and installing drainage infrastructure to prevent further erosion. This project was awarded Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association in the disaster/emergency category. Work began in March 2021, and it is continuing. Heavy construction tasks are expected to be completed in early 2022.

Previous Bluff Stabilization Efforts

Construction of Phase 4 occurred from May 2020 to January 2021. Improvements included the installation of additional support columns to stabilize localized areas and sea walls, construction of a drainage channel on top of the bluffs, repair of concrete channels and storm drain outfalls, and stabilization of existing headwalls.

Since 2003, SANDAG and NCTD have completed four stabilization projects along coastal bluffs between Coast Boulevard and Torrey Pines State Beach. These stabilization projects saw the installation of more than 230 support columns into the bluffs and critical investments into drainage infrastructure to help reinforce and protect the Del Mar bluffs.

Future Improvements 

SANDAG and NCTD have identified the funding needed to accelerate the final two phases of stabilization projects, Del Mar Bluffs Phases 5 and 6.

Phase 5 is currently funded through construction and will address additional seismic and general stabilization needs, install additional support columns, and replace more aging drainage structures.

Phase 6 will continue to provide long-term rehabilitation and stabilization work, including protecting the base of the bluffs against additional bluff retreat. Simultaneously, to ensure the long-term viability of the corridor, SANDAG is evaluating alternative strategies to move the tracks completely off the bluffs.

Phase 5 of bluff stabilization is anticipated to begin in early 2023.

Simultaneously, to ensure the long-term viability of the corridor, SANDAG has commissioned the San Diego Regional Rail Corridor Alternative Alignment and Improvements Conceptual Engineering Study, which will evaluate alternative strategies to move the tracks completely off the bluffs.

For additional information visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/DelMarBluffs.