In January, SANDAG construction crews brought a new railroad track into service and completed necessary rail-crossing improvements for a planned Quiet Zone in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
These achievements are significant milestones for the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project, a collaborative $79 million rail improvement effort between SANDAG, North County Transit District, Caltrans District 11, and the Federal Transit Administration to construct a second railroad track between the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach. This allows passenger and freight trains to operate more efficiently without pulling over to allow other trains to pass.
The project began in early 2017 and added 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon. The new segment of double tracked rail line creates more than four miles of continuous double track in the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) coastal rail corridor.
The second track in Cardiff-by-the-Sea features a new concrete rail bridge, put into service last September, which replaced the original 80-year-old wooden trestle bridge that had been in use since the early 1940s over the San Elijo Lagoon inlet. The new rail bridge contributes to the long-term health of the lagoon as its wider set support columns allow for increased tidal flows.
Adding secondary track along the LOSSAN rail line improves both the service and efficiency of San Diego County’s coastal rail corridor for commuters and freight alike. It eliminates the previous need for meeting or passing trains to take turns using a single track. To date, SANDAG has double tracked approximately two-thirds (39 miles) of the LOSSAN corridor.
For three weeks, which ended last week, the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing was closed to through traffic in order to enhance the safety of the crossing for all crossers. Improvements made at the Chesterfield Drive rail crossing, between San Elijo Avenue and Coast Highway 101, include:
- Constructing a separated multi-use Class I bikeway and pedestrian path
- Building new ADA-accessible sidewalk and ramps
- Installing new traffic signal and rail crossing equipment
- Modernizing the crossing warning system
- Improving rail crossing signals and gates
- Installing additional safety signage
These improvements will enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety and accommodate the City of Encinitas’ future Quiet Zone for Cardiff-by-the-Sea, which eliminates the need for train engineers to sound the horn when approaching the at-grade crossing.
To date, other project milestones include the construction of a retaining wall north of the San Elijo Lagoon to keep the rail tracks separated from the lagoon inlet, a pedestrian undercrossing at the southern end of the lagoon, and track and signal improvements south of the Solana Beach train station.
As the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project nears completion later this spring, final construction activities include revegetation within the project limits, regrading and finishing work near the new pedestrian undercrossing, drainage installations, and other assorted items.
— Submitted news release