Construction begins on Coastal Rail Trail in Cardiff

Construction broke ground April 30 on a 1.3-mile segment of the Coastal Rail Trail bikeway in Encinitas, with crews beginning preliminary construction activities along San Elijo Avenue in the community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Preliminary construction activities include removing vegetation, verifying underground utilities, and installing fencing around environmentally sensitive areas. This segment of bikeway will link the community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea with downtown Encinitas.

The Encinitas segment of the bikeway is a critical component of the 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail, a bike route that will run from the City of Oceanside to downtown San Diego, and will help fill the bike connectivity gaps in Encinitas.

The $10 million bike project is part of Build NCC, a collaborative effort between the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and Caltrans District 11. It is comprised of three primary focus areas – Interstate 5 (I-5) Express Lanes Project, coastal rail and transit enhancements, and environmental protection and coastal access improvements.

“The Encinitas segment of the Coastal Rail Trail has been in the works for some time and we’re glad construction began,” said SANDAG Chair and Del Mar City Council member Terry Sinnott. “The project will give people more travel choices to many of the city’s most frequented areas.”

The bikeway will connect community assets, including the Encinitas COASTER Station, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, the Santa Fe Drive rail undercrossing, Swamis Seaside Park, George Berkich Park, Cardiff School, San Elijo and Cardiff state beaches, Harbaugh Seaside Parkway, downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Glen Park.

During construction, nearby residents and businesses can expect intermittent construction noise and dust. In early May, parking along the bluff will be temporarily removed along San Elijo Avenue between Santa Fe Drive and Montgomery Avenue, and there will be intermittent traffic delays. Pedestrians and bicyclists can expect temporary trail closures.

Construction on the Encinitas segment of the Coastal Rail Trail is expected to be complete in early 2019, at about the same time that the rail San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project is anticipated to be completed.

Since 2013, the project has been presented at community meetings, various City of Encinitas committees, and to the Encinitas City Council as it progressed through planning stages. In May 2017, the California Coastal Commission voted to approve the project’s eastern alignment, which will parallel the west side of San Elijo Avenue along the coastal rail line from Chesterfield Drive to Santa Fe Drive.

Design, engineering, and construction of the Coastal Rail Trail segments are funded by federal, state, and local funds, including the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG. Build NCC is a joint project of Caltrans, SANDAG, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. --News release