Del Mar sets date to remove overhead infrastructure for Tewa/10th St. undergrounding

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council voted unanimously to remove utility poles, overhead wires and other overhead structures by Jan. 31, 2023 for the Tewa Court/10th Street segment of the citywide utility undergrounding project.

The Tewa Court/10th Street project was the first step in utility undergrounding that will be completed with funding from Measure Q, a sales tax that city voters approved in 2016.

“The project will underground 1,000 linear feet of overhead wires, 10 utility poles and it affects 21 parcels,” Joe Bride, the city’s public works director, said during a Sept. 19 City Council meeting. “The city’s work began in May and is mostly complete.”

In February, council members learned that the estimated cost to complete the Tewa Court/10th Street portion of the utility undergrounding project had risen to about $960,000, compared to the initial estimate of $635,000 last spring.

Total costs of the project are still being calculated, Bride said during the council meeting. He said the larger segments of the undergrounding project could be more cost effective because of the “economies of scale.”

The city awarded a contract to Blue Pacific Engineering Construction Inc. earlier this year to complete the work. According to a city staff report, the project has also involved “close coordination” with San Diego Gas & Electric, AT&T and Charter Communications/Spectrum.

The next phases of the utility undergrounding project include area X1A, located in an eastern portion of the city south of the fairgrounds, and area 1A, located on a southern portion of the city near the shore. Areas X1A and 1A were going to be the first segments of the project before the council voted last year to add Tewa as a pilot project.

“Main takeaway is that this is a huge positive, lots of lessons learned here from Tewa that I think will make the future projects even better,” Del Mar City Councilmember Dan Quirk said.

“We’ve got a lot of poles to move ahead of us, and we’re really excited about what we’ve all learned to date,” said Joe Gabaldon, public affairs manager for San Diego Gas & Electric.