Road project includes fence to protect birds

The widening of El Camino Real where it weaves through the river valley has begun. This current portion of widening, from Sea Country Lane to San Dieguito Road, is a separate project from the city’s widening project that could eventually widen and re-align El Camino Real from San Dieguito to Via de la Valle and replace the aging bridge over the San Dieguito River.

While the city’s project is still being studied, including the option to add roundabouts, construction on the Sea Country Lane to San Dieguito Road portion of widening began on March 1. With the widening came a sizeable wooden fence, which runs alongside the road.

“The temporary fence along El Camino Real is to protect sensitive bird species in the vicinity during their breeding season from potential noise impacts as a result of road construction activities,” said Lynda Pfeifer, the public information officer for the city’s development services department.

The fence will be up for the duration of the project, which is expected to be complete by Aug. 15. When finished, that section of El Camino Real will be four lanes, two in each direction.

The project includes a new drainage structure that will also function as a wildlife undercrossing.

“The new structure will replace an existing drainage structure in approximately the same location,” Pfeifer said.

The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s regional issues subcommittee worked with the city to get an undercrossing that was acceptable since the current one under El Camino Real is long, narrow and dark.

Jan Fuchs, subcommittee co-chair, said the new undercrossing will be shorter with a rounded ceiling and wider openings, “more inviting to wildlife and people.”