Coastal Fee frowns on trenching concept for bluff-top railroad

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Aug. 19–North County —
A proposal to position the railroad tracks in a trench on the fringe of the bluff in Del Mar raises “critical issues” about erosion and entry to the seashore, in keeping with the California Coastal Fee. 

“This new potential different … would hamper efforts to plan for sea-level rise and erosion, thereby ensuing within the lack of vital public entry and seashore assets,” mentioned the fee’s Zach Rehm, a senior transportation program analyst, in a letter to the San Diego Affiliation of Governments.

The bluff trench is one among a number of concepts being thought-about by SANDAG, the realm’s regional planning company, to safeguard the tracks on the fringe of the eroding shoreline.

Landslides on the bluffs seems to have accelerated over the previous 12 months, main state and regional businesses to step up their seek for options. Different options being thought-about by SANDAG embrace 4 attainable routes that go so far as a mile inland and have tunnels as much as 270 ft beneath the floor, and a distinct trenched route that might observe Camino Del Mar beneath the pavement.

“Moderately than pursuing this (bluff trench) different, which might be in direct battle with many Coastal Act insurance policies … Coastal employees as a substitute encourages continued funding and growth of the assorted tunnel choices,” states the July 2 letter. 

A majority of the five-page Coastal Fee letter outlines causes the employees is “delighted” with the announcement earlier this 12 months by SANDAG Government Director Hasan Ikhrata that the company will focus its efforts on bettering mass transit as a option to scale back greenhouse gasses.

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“We should current compelling options to driving alone,” Rehm mentioned, and improved rail service helps meet that purpose.

Constructing a brand new inland rail route with tunnels would value as a lot as $three.5 billion and require years of planning and design earlier than building may start. Preliminary research present the coastal trench different would value lower than $400,000 and may very well be completed extra shortly.

“That idea got here up most likely half a dozen years in the past,” mentioned Jim Linthicum, SANDAG’s director of mobility administration.

“It was truly from one among our consultants,” he mentioned. “SANDAG has not studied this in any respect. It is an concept … that our board needs us to check … it does not imply we’re abandoning placing the tracks in a tunnel.”

The guide urged the ditch may embrace pedestrian overpasses or perhaps a park-like overlaying that might enhance seashore entry, Linthicum mentioned.

Slides and preliminary info introduced at a latest North County Transit District board assembly present the ditch could be as much as 26 ft deep and 55 ft broad, with straight vertical partitions and sufficient room for 2 units of practice tracks and a single-lane entry street.

At current there isn’t any room for a second set of tracks at Del Mar, which may make that spot a bottleneck as trains develop into extra frequent on San Diego County’s coastal rail hall.

SANDAG and the transit district, which owns and operates the tracks, are working with different businesses to finally double-track the whole 60-mile section of railroad from the Orange County border to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. About two-thirds of the route has been accomplished.

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