San Diego

SANDAG, City Council Discuss Bluff Collapse Issue in Del Mar

SANDAG and the Del Mar City Council met Monday night to brainstorm possible solutions to the bluff collapse problem that has residents on edge.

There have been five bluff collapses along the 1.6-mile stretch of railway on the Del Mar Bluffs since August. Residents like Frank Stonebanks are too afraid to even take a walk along the cliffs.

"I have two little girls, 8 and 6 years old, and I am not going to be standing on top of a bluff and have that moment be the moment that slides right into the ocean,” he said.

SANDAG has said the vibrations from the passing trains have not contributed to the collapses, yet it proposed five different train tunnel options that would remove the tracks from the bluffs.

“There is a whole bunch of factors that contribute. I think we should spend less time trying to part out which one is responsible for how much and get the tracks off the bluffs," Stonebanks said.

Those who want the project complete sooner rather than later may have no choice but to wait. The project isn’t expected to be completed until 2050.

“In 30 years I will be let's see 83,” Stonebanks said. “Two-thirds of this town probably will be dead so we try to work with the City Council SANDAG to get this accelerated.

SANDAG's Director of Mobility Management, Jim Linthicum, says the proposal is part of the agency’s 40-year regional plan, which carries an estimated price tag between $2.5 to $3.5 billion.

“The tracks are safe where they are. What the public doesn't see is all the work that the region has done to secure the bluffs over the past 15 years," Linthicum said.

As for the short term plan, repairing existing drainage structures and installing new pilings at the sea walls are at the top of the to-do list. That construction would start this fall.

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