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SANDAG to begin public outreach on train tunnel plan in Del Mar

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DEL MAR, Calif. — A tunnel beneath Del Mar is being worked on as the alternative to the tracks current location along the bluffs. The project is several years away from construction, but the process of public outreach is set to begin next month. 

“These are homes where a lot of people have lived there for their entire lives and to have it shaken up by the train because it’s now going to go underneath our house, it’s going to be pretty disruptive,” Karen Lare said.

Many Del Mar residents are uneasy about SANDAG’s plan to move the train tracks off the bluffs and under the city, by way of a tunnel.  

“SANDAG has been doing everything in our power to help restore those bluffs. At the end of the day, that is not going to be enough. The rails need to come off the bluff,” said Coleen Clementson, Deputy CEO at SANDAG.

SANDAG is considering two options as part of the LOSSAN Rail Realignment Project, which were presented before city council this week. 

“The eastern alignment will largely be in Crest Canyon and then the western alignment would follow along Camino Del Mar,” Clementson said.

Even though exact locations won’t be determined for some time, local property owners are among some of the most concerned. 

“The geotechnical considerations of going underneath homes is borderline asinine,” Cade Sears said.

“We’re not necessarily against improving the rail system, but we want to understand the reasoning and we want to understand how SANDAG is going to protect the community,” Ian Galton said.

SANDAG has presented a timeline including three years environmental surveys, studies and engineering work, with a goal of selecting a preferred design by 2026. The intention is to have public outreach and feedback throughout this time. 

“In 2028 would be when construction would start and most likely open for use in 2035. It’s an enormous undertaking and we really appreciate the community input and want the community to really be our partners in this,” Clementson said.

SANDAG is planning a series of public events and updates beginning next month, but the dates have yet to be determined. 

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