Status of Phase 1 Coastal Erosion Repair at Manresa along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line Corridor

As part of a preventative maintenance inspection that took place late 2019, Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) staff observed erosion of a slope embankment along the coastal bluff near Manresa State Beach. To address the immediate erosion concerns, temporary soil cover consisting of a plastic tarp, sand bags, and barricades was placed along the failing slope. In December 2021, a project to permanently repair the eroded slope was advertised for construction bids. The scope of work included the construction of a new 70-foot-long soldier pile retaining wall with tiebacks west of the existing track. Work also included regrading of the inland ditch along the east side of the tracks, locating and unclogging of an existing 12-inch corrugated metal pipe at the private grade crossing, and the installation of fencing.

At its Jan. 13, 2022, meeting, the RTC approved a resolution to execute a construction contract with Cal West Construction, Inc. for the Phase 1 Coastal Erosion Repair at Manresa along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line Corridor.

Construction was anticipated to begin in February of 2022. However, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) contends that before making the repairs of the rail line right-of-way near Manresa State Beach, the RTC must obtain a coastal development permit. Based on the RTC’s analysis, a permit is not required for the proposed railroad repair. The RTC has decided to not move forward with construction of the repair at this time, while discussions continue with the CCC.  The RTC anticipates moving forward with constructing a temporary and/or emergency solution prior to the commencement of the next rainy season.