San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project marks progress

Jan. 25, 2019
Completion of new concrete bridge, opening of double track segment progels project toward estimated spring completion date.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) says the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project reached a series of milestones during the past month as it transitions into final construction activities before wrapping up later this spring.

The San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project is a $79-million rail improvement effort between SANDAG, North County Transit District, Caltrans District 11 and the Federal Transit Administration to construct a second railroad track between the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach. The project is part of work being performed to double track sections of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) coastal rail corridor to improve the movement of passenger and freight trains. To date, SANDAG has double tracked approximately two-thirds (39 miles) of the LOSSAN corridor.

The project, which began in 2011, added 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon. The new segment of double tracked rail line creates more than four miles of continuous double track in the LOSSAN corridor. 

The second track in Cardiff-by-the-Sea features a new concrete rail bridge, put into service last September, which replaced the original 80-year-old wooden trestle bridge that had been in use since the early 1940s over the San Elijo Lagoon inlet. SANDAG explains that the new rail bridge contributes to the long-term health of the lagoon as its wider set support columns allow for increased tidal flows.

SANDAG construction crews recently completed necessary rail-crossing improvements for a planned Quiet Zone in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, as well as other improvement to enhance  bicycle and pedestrian safety as part of the project. 

Other project elements include the construction of a retaining wall north of the San Elijo Lagoon to keep the rail tracks separated from the lagoon inlet, a pedestrian undercrossing at the southern end of the lagoon and track and signal improvements south of the Solana Beach train station. With the project scheduled to conclude later this spring, final construction activities will begin and include revegetation within the project limits, regrading and finishing work near the new pedestrian undercrossing, drainage installations and other assorted items. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.