DEL MAR (NEWS 8) – Possibly as loud as an Amtrak train itself are the calls to move the tracks away from the edges of the bluffs in Del Mar.
Recent cliff collapses have only highlighted how pressing the issue is, but such project, if approved, would likely not be completed until 2050.
The main issue? Money.
One proposal would move the tracks underground via tunnel – an estimated $3 billion project. Experts believe there needs to be major re-enforcement and studies of the bluffs first before any work is done.
Residents like Frank Stonebanks do not want to wait decades to see the tracks move east. “It is not just about the costs. It is about, how do we get to the benefits in a short amount of time?”
Stonebanks joined the movement to change the location of the tracks about two years ago when he was handed a $400 ticket for crossing them to get to the beach. Stonebanks claims he was told he was trespassing.
He is now one of many citizens working with the City of Del Mar and SANDAG to find funding and to get the project moving. “It is big dollars. It requires big vision and leadership, but we can get it done if we get the money.”
In the meantime, trains – which SANDAG said do not contribute to the erosion of the bluffs – will continue to run near the bluffs.