Del Mar forms utility undergrounding district for Tewa

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar has formed a utility undergrounding district centered around Tewa Court, from around 420 10th St. to 1035 Klish Way, as the city commences a pilot project for its long-awaited utility undergrounding project.

Utility undergrounding had been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but council members voted in March to proceed with a Tewa Court pilot project that will include about 1,000 feet of overhead wiring, according to city staff. They said the pilot project will provide data that can help them determine the costs of citywide undergrounding.

Del Mar Mayor Terry Gaasterland said during the May 17 council meeting, when the council voted to establish the Tewa Court utility undergrounding district, that she was “pleased we can get construction going.”

“It is my fervent hope that the lessons we learn here on this pilot project will accelerate the subsequent projects and give us cost savings that we may not have been able to hone in on otherwise,” she said.

The city has been anticipating the undergrounding project to cost approximately $32-42 million in its entirety, and hoping the first segments will help provide a more precise estimate. The project is funded by the city’s Measure Q tax. For Tewa, the council allocated $635,220.

The original plan for utility undergrounding in Del Mar was to begin with two areas, labeled areas 1A and X1A. Area 1A, located along Stratford Court between Fourth and 12th streets, includes more than 7,000 feet of utility lines to be undergrounded. Area X1A, located in Crest Canyon, will underground more than 11,000 feet of utility lines.

Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden cast the only vote against the Tewa utility undergrounding district. He previously voted against moving forward with a Tewa Court pilot project.

Worden said that proceeding with Tewa Court first would be an “inappropriate jumping of the line.” He also said that any changes to the order of the project should go before the city’s Undergrounding Project Advisory Committee for consideration.

The next steps in utility undergrounding include City Council votes on establishing undergrounding districts for areas 1A and X1A.