Archives: Current Issues 2009
DREDGING WILL COMPLETE RESTORATION (12/09/2009)
The last major construction step in the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project is about to happen thanks to an agreement between the North County Transit District (NCTD) and Southern California Edison (SCE) that will allow SCE to retrofit about 150 pilings under the old wooden railroad bridge that spans the San Dieguito River west of the fairgrounds. Once the pilings are stabilized SCE will be able to dredge the channel from the Jimmy Durante Bridge to the ocean, increasing the tidal flushing and guaranteeing the continued revitalization of the lagoon and its burgeoning bird and fish populations.
Just six months ago this critical step in the Project was up in the air pending resolution of who would foot the cost of retrofitting the bridge. SCE, who has already paid for up to 80 per cent of the $86 million restoration, will cover the cost of stabilizing that portion of the bridge that spans the river. The cost is estimated at between $1 and $2 million dollars. NCTD is taking over responsibility for the design, approving project plans and advertising and awarding construction contracts for the work. NCTD has said they are checking with suppliers in order to consider a separate, direct purchase of the retrofit bracing materials in advance of the construction contract as an additional step to maintain the tight schedule.
In a letter to Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker said the NCTD Board had authorized him to award construction agreements to “expedite” the retrofitting project without further Board action. He noted that NCTD has “worked collaboratively with SCE to meet the aggressive timeline envisioned” and is “committed to supporting the successful and timely completion of the project.” The dredging is expected to start by January 1, 2010 before the start of the bird-breeding season as specified by SCE’s Lagoon Restoration permitting requirements and finish before the County Fair opens.
It has been clarified in a staff report to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) that the retrofitting by SCE to permit dredging of the lagoon is a “stand-alone” project that does not effect the future replacement of the entire bridge because of the “existing structural and floodplain deficiencies.” Recently completed studies for future improvements on the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) corridor include the San Dieguito River Bridge Replacement and Second Track Project and a proposed permanent seasonal rail platform at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Both projects are on hold due to lack of funding.
(by Ann Gardner, courtesy of the Del Mar Sandpiper)