Del Mar council begins to consider options for next utility undergrounding sections

Del Mar City Hall
(Jon Clark)

Del Mar City Council members began weighing in during their May 15 meeting on how to proceed with the next phases of the citywide utility undergrounding project, which are currently in the design phase.

Utility undergrounding district 1A, centered around Stratford Court South, is estimated to cost $5.38 million, or $703 per foot of overhead utilities. It includes 56 poles and 227 properties.

District X1A, based around Crest Canyon, is estimated to cost $8.05 million, or $719 per foot of overhead utilities. It includes 77 poles and 152 properties.

Council members are tasked with deciding whether to proceed with construction concurrently or one after the other.

“That decision is not being made tonight, as we know,” City Councilmember Dave Druker said. “We need to have more information, specifically on when 1A is done. The other thing is X1A is just more complicated, it’s a bigger area, the streets are different. The Stratford Court area is all square, it’s simpler to design.”

A subcommittee of the city’s Undergrounding Project Advisory members recommended that the council postpone a decision until design for section 1A is complete.

The city recently completed a small utility undergrounding segment centered around Tewa Court and 10th Street. The total cost was $832,000, or $832 per foot of overhead utilities, which was 31% more than the original $635,000 estimate.

“The completion of this initial pilot project was an important milestone for the City,” according to a city staff report, “which provided valuable information and lessons learned that have been incorporated into the planning for future undergrounding districts.”

Utility undergrounding is funded by Measure Q, a one-cent sales tax approved by Del Mar voters in 2016.