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photo: courtesy NCTD

San Diego Region Awarded $10.5 Million for Del Mar Bluff Repairs

Funds Awarded by the California Transportation Commission will Allow SANDAG and NCTD to Complete Needed Bluff Repairs

San Diego CA— On Thursday, March 25, SANDAG and North County Transit District (NCTD) received $10.5 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program’s Interregional Transportation Improvement Program administered by the California Transportation Commission (CTC).  The funds will allow SANDAG and NCTD to complete repairs along the Del Mar Bluffs following a late February collapse.

“This funding will make it possible to complete emergency repairs that are critical to ensuring the LOSSAN rail line – the second busiest in the nation – can continue operations while SANDAG explores plans to permanently move the tracks off the bluffs,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “Continued collaboration with the CTC and local transportation operators NCTD, Caltrans, and MTS is vital as we work to create a faster, fairer and cleaner transportation system for our region.”

On Sunday, February 28, the Del Mar Bluffs suffered a failure just south of 4th Street in the City of Del Mar and geotechnical experts determined that train service could be operated safely at a reduced speed. Over the course of two weekend rail closures in March, called Absolute Work Windows, SANDAG construction crews successfully stabilized the area of the collapse. However, more work is planned to ensure the reliability and safety of the railroad tracks.

Over the next several months, construction crews will install up to 18 support columns along the upper bluffs to support the railroad and build a new seawall along the beach to reinforce the base of the bluffs. The work is expected to be complete in July 2021.

“I am proud of the work our regional agencies have done to act quickly and secure this vital funding,” said NCTD Chair and Encinitas Councilmember Tony Kranz. “This quick and effective collaboration is a perfect example of what we can achieve when we work together as a region toward a common goal.”

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.

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 currently evaluating alternative strategies to move the tracks completely off the bluffs.

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

About NCTD

The North County Transit District is a public transportation agency providing over 10 million passenger trips in Fiscal Year 2019 throughout North San Diego County and into downtown San Diego. NCTD is designated as a rail common carrier by the Surface Transportation Board based on the movement of interstate commerce on the tracks and the Railroad of Record by the Federal Railroad Administration responsible for safety over the entire San Diego portion of the LOSSAN corridor. NCTD’s system includes BREEZE buses (with FLEX service), COASTER commuter trains, SPRINTER hybrid rail trains, and LIFT paratransit service. NCTD’s mission is to deliver safe, convenient, reliable, and user-friendly public transportation services. For more information visit: GoNCTD.com.


The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.

To protect the health and safety of staff, partners, and the general public, SANDAG offices are closed to the public. Our team is working remotely during this time to provide essential services, and to continue progress on critical regional projects. SANDAG will continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 in the region and follow guidance from the  San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

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