By Claire Harlin
A $4.8 million project to stabilize 1.6 miles of coastal bluffs between Seagrove Park and Torrey Pines State Beach will culminate this week.
The project, carried out by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and funded primarily from Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and Federal Transportation Administration grants, was meant to stabilize the bluffs as a preventative measure because erosion can cause the bluff face to inch closer to the coastal train track.
“Bluffs erode naturally, either by wind or storm, over time, so we wanted to stabilize them so they will still be there whether or not the tracks are there in the future,” said Jim Linthicum, SANDAG’s director of mobility. “If a big storm comes in, we don’t want to come in on an emergency basis. This is preventative maintenance, part of owning and maintaining a railroad.”
The project consisted of drilling 36-inch diameter holes spaced 10 feet apart and reaching 40 to 65 feet into the bluff. Steel reinforcement beams were installed in the holes, which were backfilled with concrete, and tie-backs were installed at some locations.
“Instead of building a wall that everyone will see, we drill these shafts every 10 feet and they form a wall inside the bluff,” Linthicum said.
The project was planned according to an extensive soil study conducted in 2004, which assessed the geography of the area and prioritized areas to be stabilized. Another phase of bluff stabilization will take place when funds are available, Linthicum said, however such a project will be in competition with other needs when it comes to funding.