Coastal Commission Concerned Over Trenching Idea for Rail Tracks Atop Oceanfront Bluffs in Del Mar

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A proposal to place the railroad tracks in a trench at the edge of the bluffs in Del Mar raises “serious concerns” about erosion and access to the beach, according to the California Coastal Commission.

“This new potential alternative … would hamper efforts to plan for sea-level rise and erosion, thereby resulting in the loss of significant public access and beach resources,” said the commission’s Zach Rehm, a senior transportation program analyst, in a letter to the San Diego Assn. of Governments.

The bluff trench is one of several ideas being considered by the area’s regional planning agency to safeguard the tracks at the edge of the eroding coastline.

Landslides on the bluffs appear to have accelerated over the last year, leading state and regional agencies to step up their search for solutions. Other alternatives being considered by the regional planning agency include four possible routes that go as far as a mile inland and have tunnels up to 270 feet below ground, and a different trenched route that would follow Camino Del Mar beneath the pavement.

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