San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project. Photo courtesy of Keep San Diego Moving.

Three San Diego County projects — the San Elijo Lagoon rail project, Gilman Drive bridge structure and San Ysidro Land Port of Entry — won awards Wednesday at the 31st Annual Transportation Awards.

The awards were presented by the California Transportation Foundation.

The San Elijo Lagoon project was built in conjunction with North County Transit District, the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans District 11, HDR Engineering Inc. and Flatiron-Skanska-Stacy-Witbeck. It was a rail improvement project and part of the North Coast Corridor Program, which also includes extending the carpool lanes on Interstate 5 from Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach to State Route 78 in Oceanside, new bike and pedestrian trails and the restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon.

The completed project extends between the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach. The project added 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by- the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon and replaced the more than 80-year-old wooden trestle San Elijo Lagoon rail bridge with a modern concrete bridge, creating more than four miles of continuous double track on the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo coastal rail corridor, eliminating the need for meeting or passing trains to take turns using the single track.

“Projects like the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track project will support multimodal transportation improvements throughout the region for years to come,” SANDAG Board Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. “Passenger rail services are expected to double over the next decade, and these projects will help our region keep pace with demand.”

The project is compatible with the extension of the Coastal Rail Trail for bikes and pedestrians in Encinitas. The Coastal Rail Trail is a 44-mile system of planned bike facilities between Oceanside and San Diego. This bike trail is intended to provide a safe and comfortable bike-riding environment that is separated from motor vehicle traffic.

The Gilman Drive Bridge in University City won Structure Project of the Year for connecting UC San Diego and residential neighborhoods and was built by SANDAG, CalTrans, UCSD, Moffatt and Nichol, Safdie Rabines Architects and Mid-Coast Transit Constructors.

The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Phase 3 won Freeway/Expressway Project of the Year, and was built by the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Atkinson/Clark and The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP.

— City News Service

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