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The Del Mar bluffs have been plagued by a series of collapses over the last 18 months that have left residents and officials increasingly concerned about the stability of the busy railroad tracks perched atop the cliffs.
Top transportation officials are now gearing up for the largest bluff stabilization effort in nearly a decade. The San Diego Assn. of Governments and North County Transit District have already dedicated roughly $10 million to repair storm water drainage structures, replace parts of sea walls and install additional steel and concrete support columns to hold back the earth.
In December, the two agencies wrote a letter to the state saying they need an additional $100 million over the next four years to ensure the safety of bluffs.
Top state officials have recognized the need for stabilization projects and are now also calling to accelerate a long-envisioned plan to relocate the tracks inland — a project that could cost as much as $4 billion.
SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata said that his agency could be ready to break ground on building an underground train tunnel through Del Mar in just three years.
“This is a high priority,” he said. “I’m shocked that we haven’t done it before. To keep spending money on temporary solutions isn’t a solution at all.”
Ikhrata added that, because of the massive price tag, such an aggressive timeline would be possible only with coordinated support from local, state and federal officials.
That might be more likely than it sounds.
This article first appeared on www.latimes.com
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