Del Mar celebrates completion of first utility undergrounding project

The 10th and final pole in the Tewa project was removed Feb. 8 during a brief ceremony.
(Luke Harold)

Del Mar council members, city officials and a small crowd gathered for a pole-removing ceremony on Feb. 8 to commemorate the end of the Tewa/10th Street utility undergrounding project.

About two years ago, the City Council decided to complete the Tewa project as the first portion of a citywide utility undergrounding. It included the removal of 1,000 feet of overhead wires and 10 poles taken down.

Del Mar Mayor Tracy Martinez spoke before the pole removal.
(Luke Harold)

“Undergrounding not only removes the visual clutter of the utility poles,” Del Mar Mayor Tracy Martinez said, “but it really makes Del Mar even more beautiful. Along with that, it decreases fire risk and it adds an extra layer of protection against any downed power lines and power outages.”

A crew lifted the 10th and final pole of the Tewa project out of the ground on the 500 block of 10th Street.

The city is moving forward with the next phases of the utility undergrounding project area X1A, located by Crest Canyon, and area 1A, which runs along Stratford Court South. Areas X1A and 1A were going to be the first segments of the project before the council voted to add Tewa as a pilot project.

The original estimated cost to complete Tewa was $635,000, but rose to about $960,000 as of last year due to the small scale of the project and construction industry trends at the time. The city is still calculating the exact final total.

Utility undergrounding is funded by Measure Q, a 1% sales tax that Del Mar voters approved in 2016.

Michael Hadland, a government affairs rep from telecommunications company Charter Communications, commended the city “for having the foresight and being able to put this on the ballot, getting it passed and being able to beautify the city even more than it already is.”

“We look forward to the future projects and collaboration,” Hadland said.