Two Tunnel or Not Two Tunnel

Results of strategic plan studies evaluating five options for tunnels to realign the train tracks from the Del Mar bluffs to inland locations were presented at the April 16th meeting of the San Diego County Association of Governments (SANDAG) Transportation Committee. The five options are shown in color in Figure 1.


The best news from the presentation was that the old “trench and fill” option under Camino Del Mar has been replaced with a tunnel that mainly runs east of Camino Del Mar (the red line on Figure 1). SANDAG still calls this the Camino Del Mar option, a confusing choice, but it is a real tunnel deep under the hillside, and its construction should have much less impact on Del Mar.


Each tunnel option was scored on a number of evaluation criteria, with greatest weight given to improved travel time, safety, and connectivity. The chart showing the results are shown in Figure 2.


The two routes that were selected for further study were the “Camino Del Mar” option (red line in Figure 1) and the highspeed Crest Canyon option (yellow line in Figure 1), this despite the “above Carmel Valley Road” option have a marginally better score than the “Camino Del Mar” route.


There will be more public outreach about these decisions including a presentation to the Del Mar City Council on June 7th. How the “Camino Del Mar” option got a 2/4 score for public acceptance is a mystery, although any plan that gets the tracks off of the bluffs should get widespread support. Bonus points might be added for not tearing up the real Camino Del Mar.


Additional planning studies should conclude next spring, but there is still no funding for construction costs which are currently estimated to exceed $3 billion.