SOLANA BEACH — A large wooden structure near the railroad tracks at the north end of the city is not permanent and should be gone after a 48-hour rail shutdown scheduled to begin March 11 at 12:30 a.m.
The 10-by-15-by-60-foot form boards were constructed to help build a culvert, or tunnel, that will eventually be used for a pedestrian undercrossing and, if necessary, flood control, according to North County Transit District officials.
The work is being completed in conjunction with double tracking, which is part of a larger San Diego Association of Governments North County transportation corridor project that includes work on Interstate 5 and lagoon restoration.
The culvert components are being built onsite and will be installed under the tracks.
“Once it’s in you won’t see it,” NCTD’s Steve Fordham said. “We have them everywhere along the rail corridor.”
The underpass, at the south end of the San Elijo Lagoon, will eventually connect to the existing Solana Beach coastal rail trail.
The area is currently undergoing environmental review for the restoration of Harbaugh Seaside Trails, a 3.4-acre site previously called Gateway Park.
“The double-tracking project is what is facilitating the construction of the undercrossing,” SANDAG’s Joe Britton said. “The future trail will come after the double-tracking project is complete in approximately two years.”
While the two projects are being constructed concurrently, the trail that will connect to the undercrossing is being planned and built by the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy and Solana Beach separately from the double tracking.
“Unfortunately the timing didn’t align to (complete) the undercrossing at the same time as the double tracking,” Britton said.
That project will add 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon and replace the more than 60-year-old wooden trestle San Elijo Lagoon rail bridge with a modern, double-track, concrete bridge.
“The culvert could serve as flood control,” Britton said. “But the primary reason for building it is for a future pedestrian trail.”
Fordham said the undercrossing will be similar to, but not as “fancy” as, the one across from the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple in Encinitas.
This story has been updated since its original posting.