NCTD starts bridge repairs; double-track project under consideration by rail agency

The North County Transit District recently began repairs to the railroad bridge over the San Dieguito Lagoon and River at North Beach in Del Mar.

The project, which kicked off July 27, will help repair natural damage that is caused by scouring, a process by which currents progressively remove sediment from around the pilings at the base of the bridge.

According to NCTD’s construction notice, the work involves excavating portions of the channel and backfilling it with larger rocks called riprap in order to armor the bottom of the channel surrounding the bridge pilings. Once the riprap has been installed, native sand and silt will be used to cover the rocks and void spaces.

Although some community members have questioned whether the construction is related to the proposed San Dieguito Double Track and Special Events Platform project, representatives from the San Diego Association of Governments have confirmed that the projects are not connected.

If approved, the double-track project would add a one-mile stretch of second main track between Del Mar and Solana Beach, replace the nearly 100-year-old wooden trestle rail bridge over the San Dieguito River, and add a special-events rail platform on the west side of the fairgrounds. The project is part of the North Coast Corridor Program, a comprehensive package of highway, rail and transit, and coastal access improvements, which spans 27 miles from Oceanside to La Jolla.

The Federal Railroad Administration — the lead agency for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act — is reviewing a preliminary environmental document for the project. SANDAG expects the FRA to release the final environmental document and announce its decision in the next couple months, said spokesperson Amy Freiburger.

SANDAG recently received approval from the FRA to move forward with the 60 percent design phase, Freiburger said. Once the project’s team makes progress, Freiburger said SANDAG and NCTD will host a third open house to share draft concepts of the bridge and platform design.

NCTD’s current and separate repair project is expected to improve tidal flows, which are important to the vitality of lagoon wildlife. Approved by the California Coastal Commission, Army Corps of Engineers, and California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the project should be completed by the end of 2015.

For information about the bridge repair project, visit