Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Public Safety

Encinitas to close Crest Drive road link once sinkhole repairs complete

The Encinitas City Council recently voted to close the temporary access road link between Crest and Wales drives once the sinkhole repair on Lake Drive is completed.

Residents on Crest Drive were opposed to keeping the link open, saying the narrow rural road was not meant to handle the extra traffic.

“They're not happy with all the traffic that's going through there right now and they want it to go back the way it was, which was blocked off,” said Jamie Lee Templin, who lives on Lake Drive north of Birmingham Drive.


Templin's house is more than two blocks away from the sinkhole, which is between Wales Drive and Sea Village Way, but she said there was increased traffic on her street as well.

The temporary access link connects Waves Drive to Crest Drive at Via Tempo. There were barricades along with vegetation separating the two streets. The city had to bulldoze that and lay down temporary pavements to create the temporary passageway.

“When the sinkhole developed to the point where the Lake Drive was no longer passable for the folks that lived on the south side of the sinkhole, we opened up a street ... in order for people to get into and out of their homes,” Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz said.

Jacob Aere
The road closure sign on Lake Drive at Wales Drive in Encinitas as crews work to repair the sinkhole that opened up during the successive winter storms earlier this year, May 23, 2023.

The sinkhole developed on the sidewalk of Lake Drive in mid-January and expanded in mid-March following a string of winter storms that drenched the area. With Lake Drive closed, residents living on Wales Drive south of the sinkhole had no access.


That alerted residents and the city about the danger of only having one exit route for hundreds of residents in a high-fire-risk area.

With the repairs close to completion, the city had two choices: keep the road link open or close it and install an electric gate for use as an emergency exit.

Keeping it open would cost the city $120,000 to replace the temporary pavement with new asphalt to city standards and conduct traffic and California Environmental Quality Act analyses.

Closing the link with a gate would cost $100,000. At its May 17 meeting, the Encinitas City Council voted unanimously to install the gate that could be opened remotely by firefighters.

"Crest Drive is a historic road in our city and doesn't have the width that the volume of traffic that it's currently getting with the emergency opening," Kranz said. "So we are going to go back to having it closed unless it's another emergency."

Nearly everyone at that meeting opposed keeping the link open. John Bockman, who lives at the corner of Wales Drive and Via Tempo, said he was impressed that the council listened to residents' concerns.

"There are about 30 or more people at the meeting, myself and my wife included, and they listened to both sides of the argument," Bockman said. "The other side of the argument is people want it open to traffic and with the main concern being the ability to escape in a fire situation, emergency situation, and the gate should allow for that. So both sides should be happy."

Work on the sinkhole is slated to be completed by mid-June, according to the city's contractor. The City Council will decide on the design and implementation of the gate at a later date but promised to make it aesthetically pleasing with landscaping.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.