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Strong local response to Santa Fe underpass art request

ENCINITAS — Encinitas sent out the call for artists to submit proposals for artwork that would be installed along the brand new underpass at Santa Fe Drive and Interstate 5, and the community responded.

The city is looking for colorful mosaics to be installed in 53 inset spaces along the walls that Caltrans is installing along the Interstate 5 underpass at Santa Fe, part of a project to overhaul both Santa Fe and Encinitas Boulevard’s freeway underpasses.

With the period for submitting proposals closed on Nov. 15, city officials said they received 59 submissions.

“The intention is to display art capturing the thriving artists and student artists community that exists within our city,” city spokeswoman Lois Yum said. “The process is ongoing and is meeting our expectations.”

With six more submissions than spaces, this means that the city’s arts commission will have to make the cuts before passing along the recommendation to Caltrans for its approval.

Once Caltrans signs off, the City Council will consider the proposal for its approval.

City officials expect fabrication of the mosaics will begin early next year and be installed by next summer.

The City Council in June approved the $192,567 budget addition to pay for the project, which included $37,100 — or $700 per each mosaic — at Santa Fe and $155,46 for professionally made mosaics along four so-called “ground anchor walls,” placed at the on- and off-ramps of Encinitas Boulevard.

Caltrans’ overhaul of the two underpasses is expected to be completed by late 2019, and will include the creation of space for bike lanes and sidewalks at both freeway intersections.

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