ENCINITAS–SANDAG, Caltrans, and community members on Thursday celebrated the completion of the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project, Chesterfield Drive Improvement Projects, and a segment of the Coastal Rail Trail bikeway in Encinitas.
The nearly $100 million of investments in the community will increase mobility, safety, and transportation choices in the area. The completion of these projects coincides with National Bike Month and the 29th annual SANDAG Bike to Work Day on May 16.
“Together, the completion of these projects will help serve multimodal transit growth throughout the region for years to come,” said SANDAG Board Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, “Passenger rail services are expected to double over the next decade, and bike adoption continues to rise. These projects will help our region keep pace with growing demand.”
The completion of the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project in partnership with the North County Transit District added 1.5 miles of second mainline rail track and replaced an aging timber single track rail bridge with a modern, concrete, double-tracked bridge. Engraved letters on the new rail bridge spell out C-A-R-D-I-F-F, with a letter on each of the new bridge columns.
“The completion of these projects is a big deal to our community,” said SANDAG Board Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, “The positive impacts of the safety improvements, increased health and wellness from new travel choices and connectivity hubs will be felt immediately. With these new facilities, I look forward to increasing our community participation on Bike to Work Day next week.”
The opening of the 1.3-mile Encinitas segment of the Coastal Rail Trail is part of a larger planned continuous bike route that will run approximately 44 miles between the City of Oceanside and Downtown San Diego. Including the new segment, approximately 25.6 miles of the Coastal Rail Trail have been completed to date. The Encinitas segment connects Chesterfield Drive with Santa Fe Drive, along the east side of the rail line, bringing together residents, businesses, and schools in the small coastal community.
“We are proud to celebrate these three important, integrated projects in the City of Encinitas,” said Allan Kosup, Caltrans District 11 North Coast Corridor Director. “These projects are critical connections in the Build NCC program, and represent the first major milestones of progress in a 40-year plan to improve transportation and the quality of life along San Diego County’s north-south coastal corridor.”
The Chesterfield Drive Improvements Project, completed in partnership with the City of Encinitas, included the installation of new rail crossing safety equipment, a modernized and enhanced rail crossing warning system, a multi-use bike/pedestrian path, and ADA-accessible sidewalks and ramps. The safety improvements allowed the City of Encinitas to apply for a Quiet Zone, which eliminates the need for train engineers to sound their horn when approaching an at-grade crossing, with the Federal Railroad Association.
During the construction, a waiting platform for the original Cardiff Train Station was unearthed. Modifications were made to the trail to leave the platform in place, allowing the City of Encinitas to preserve this important piece of history in the Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
The projects were funded through a combination of federal, state, and local sources, including TransNet, the regional, voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvement projects administered by SANDAG. The San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project cost approximately $78 million, the Encinitas Coastal Rail Trail cost approximately $11 million, and the Chesterfield Drive Improvements Project cost approximately $6 million.