ENCINITAS — Construction on a railroad crossing near Santa Fe Drive and Swamis Seaside Park is on schedule, according to Jim Linthicum, director of mobility with the San Diego Association of Governments.
“There’s always chances of delays, but as of right now, things are looking good,” Linthicum said.
The $5.9 million project, which is slated for completion near the end of this year, includes building a pedestrian underpass beneath the train tracks. The underpass will let residents access Swamis Seaside Park and the beach without breaking the law. Currently, there are no nearby spots to legally access the beach; residents risk a $1,000 fine for crossing the railroad tracks.
Additionally, a crosswalk and traffic light near the underpass will be built.
The project also entails building a rail bridge that will help link up an already established network in Solana Beach, Oceanside, Carlsbad and other parts of Southern California. Designed to boost pedestrian and foot traffic in the area, the rail bridge will run adjacent to the active train tracks.
Construction began at the end of January. So far, crews have excavated part of the area. They’ve also built retaining walls and underground bridge supports in preparation for the biggest phase of the project: digging out the underpass and installing the bridge. In order to put the bridge in place, the train tracks will be closed for more than two days. The closure will likely happen in early September, Linthicum said.
SANDAG is funding most of the Santa Fe project, with the city paying a portion.
There are plans to eventually build two railroad crossings in Leucadia and one in Cardiff. But funding for those projects has yet to be identified, according to Linthicum. He said priority was given to the Santa Fe underpass because of the volume of illegal crossings.