Roadway rehab coming to southern Del Mar

Construction crews will in a few weeks begin $1.7 million in roadway and sidewalk improvements at Del Mar’s southern entrance, reworking a half-mile stretch of Camino del Mar from Del Mar Heights Road to Carmel Valley Road.

An earlier version of the project sparked outcry last year among residents living just north of Carmel Valley Road—which is part of Del Mar—and their neighbors just south of Del Mar Heights Road—which is part of San Diego. Hoping to dissuade traffic along the corridor, city planners had proposed nixing the “free” right-turn lane from Carmel Valley Road, closing off one of Camino del Mar’s two northbound lanes, and eliminating the southbound left turn lane onto Del Mar Heights Road.

In response to the backlash, the city council insisted on extensive redesigns. The new plan abandons all of the disputed suggestions, and even adds a second left-turn lane onto Del Mar Heights Road. Camino del Mar will be repaved and restriped to include “buffered bike lanes” along the entire stretch. A new sidewalk with a multiuse path will be added along the western side of Camino del Mar. Parking overlooking Anderson Canyon—the hardpan around Sunset Seat—will be “a little bit more organized,” said City Engineer Tim Thiel. And at the intersection with Carmel Valley Road, a high-visibility crosswalk will be added and bike lanes will be painted green.

Poway-based Eagle Paving Co. won the contract after submitting the lowest of nine viable bids. The contract required city council approval because all of the bids exceeded the city’s $1.4 million estimate.

“Prices are going up, competition is getting tight, materials are getting more expensive,” Thiel said.

The $1.7 million includes $536,000 for paving, curbs, gutters and striping; $320,000 for landscaping and irrigation; $170,000 for drainage and water quality improvements; and nearly $200,000 for work on the path that leads to Anderson Canyon.

The city council on March 5 unanimously approved the $1.7 million outlay, as well as a $120,000 contingency fund.

“It’s exciting to finally get this going. It’s frustrating that it’s as expensive as it is, but such is life,” said Mayor Dwight Worden.

Construction is expected to run into July. The contract stipulates that one lane must remain open in both directions, “but I could see some closures toward the end when we do the final paving,” Thiel said.

Known as “Streetscape Segment 5,” the project is one of nine pieces of a 2013 plan for upgrading Del Mar’s busiest thoroughfares. Five of the projects have since been completed. After Segment 5, all that remains is the north end of Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Camino del Mar between 4th to 9th streets, and the $5 million overhaul of Camino del Mar from 9th Street just past 15th Street, the first phase of which is set to begin as early as next week.

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