Del Mar declares local emergency due to rains

The city of Del Mar declared a local emergency, in response to the recent El Niño rains.

The rains from nearly two weeks ago created a landslide and damaged a portion of Camino del Mar, which runs north and south along the coast, and destroyed a storm drain and utility lines that run under the roadway.

There are two northbound lanes and one southbound lane in the damaged area. Due to safety concerns, the city immediately closed all southbound lanes on Camino del Mar, north of Carmel Valley Road and south of Fourth Street and Del Mar Heights Road. One lane in each direction has since reopened, but an estimated $1 million in repairs are still needed.

Much of the fill under the street slid down the canyon, undercutting the road and exposing a communication conduit containing fiberoptic cables, two gravity main sewer lines, serving Del Mar and the city of San Diego, as well as a Del Mar storm drain line and inlet. A high pressure gas distribution main also runs beneath the roadway.

According to a staff report prepared for the Jan. 19 council meeting, crews have been working to re-route the storm water flows that normally use the affected pipe while also working to protect the other nearby utility pipes in the immediate vicinity. The city engineer has also been working with the city’s on-call engineering contractors to design the bluff stabilization efforts.

The council on Jan. 19 adopted a resolution ratifying City Manager Scott Huth’s proclamation of a local emergency due to the eroded bluff and damaged storm drain. With the council’s unanimous approval of the resolution, the city can now immediately engage contractors without having to go through a time-consuming bid process, Huth explained.

“If we had to do a formal bid process with plans, we’d be into a road closure for several months,” said Huth, who as city manager also serves as the city’s director of emergency services. He declared a local emergency on Jan. 7.