They stand 7 feet tall every few feet. There are dozens of them sticking out of the beach sand at the base of the bluffs in Del Mar.
San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) crews spent the summer driving the steel beams 20 feet into the sand to reinforce the bluffs above. Bluff and cliff safety has become an increased priority, especially after three members of a family were killed by a bluff collapse in Encinitas last year.
The bluffs in Del Mar are of particular interest, though, because a train track runs only a few feet from the bluff's edge.
“We’re trying to stabilize the bluff to make it safe for San Diegans,” said SANDAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata.
SANDAG crews spent parts of Tuesday driving in steel beams on the eastern side of the railroad tracks at the end of 10th Street in Del Mar. Ikhrata said the reinforced bluffs should hold for two to three decades, giving SANDAG long enough to move the train tracks at least a mile inland.
“You can assure the residents of San Diego that this will be stable for the next 20 to 30 years," Ikhrata said. "There will be no collapses. We’re building the infrastructure for the future.”
Right now, SANDAG is conducting a $3 million study on where the tracks can be moved. In the meantime, Ikhrata said, SANDAG hopes to obtain the rest of the funding in December to complete the bluff stabilization project.