Portion of Coast Highway will remain closed

Portion of Coast Highway will remain closed
The west lane of the southbound road on Carlsbad Boulevard near the Encinas Creek Bridge will be closed for several months after a king tide eroded the embankment in December. Photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — A stretch of Carlsbad Boulevard remains closed for the foreseeable future after falling prey to the Pacific Ocean.

Carlsbad Public Works Director Pat Thomas said city crews have made repairs, but the city is looking toward a long-term solution.

The City Council, meanwhile, approved up to $841,000 for repairs to the roadway, also known as Highway 101, after a king tide eroded the bluff in December. As a result, the city obtained an emergency permit from the California Coastal Commission to begin repair work.

The $841,000, Thomas said, is a “worst case cost estimate” of the total cost for the repairs.

Thomas said 1,200 tons of rock has been placed along the area, which left about 300 to 400 feet of the embankment shredded by the tides near the Encinas Creek Bridge.

“What we feel is that it’s stabilized now,” he added. “We don’t feel like we will have any major problems in the near future.”

One option for a permanent fix, Thomas said, is to mimic work done to an area just south of the current spot wrecked by waves several years ago. It includes digging deeper into the ground, between 10 to 15 feet, and stack more boulders.

However, a buffer between the ocean and the embankment using sheet pile would need to be created to allow crews a safe working environment.

In addition, the city will have to reapply for a permanent permit from the commission in the next six months before work can be done for the long-term fix, Thomas explained.

“Whether it’s a modification of what has already been done or an embankment protection is what we will have to develop over the next six months,” he added.

With digging 10 to 15 feet, however, drives up the cost. Thomas said city staff would look into several ways of combating the problem without running up the tab.

One of those, he continued, may be realigning the road at some point.

“We are going to look and see if any parts of that plan would be able to be included in what’s being done over the next six months,” Thomas said.

As for the road closure, he said due to the erosion, it left very little space between the road and the embankment. The city opted to keep the west lane of the southbound road sealed off as a safety precaution.

“There’s really no walking path,” Thomas said. “There’s maybe a foot or two of dirt shoulder. We are looking at possibly putting in some sort of barrier.”


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