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July 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Sea wall bond measure approved for November ballot

The Seattle City Council today unanimously approved placing a $290 million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot to rebuild the badly deteriorated waterfront seawall and two city-owned piers. The 30-year bond measure would cost the owner of a $360,000 home about $59 per year.

“This is a very straightforward plan to replace critical parts of our seawall that we can put before the voters with confidence,” said Council Member Tom Rasmussen, chair of the city Transportation Committee.

City leaders have said the seawall replacement project must be approved this fall for the work to be coordinated with the Highway 99 viaduct replacement project, which already is underway. The viaduct is scheduled to be removed in 2016 and a new surface roadway — held up by the seawall — built in its place.

The seawall, built between 1916 and 1936, runs the length of the waterfront from South Washington Street to Broad Street. Engineers say it has been badly eroded by gribbles and bore worms and could collapse in a major earthquake or storm, causing widespread damage to property along the waterfront.

The bond measure would replace the seawall as far north as Virginia Street. In addition to replacing the seawall, the proposed bond measure would rebuild Waterfront Park, just south of the Seattle Aquarium, and Piers 62 and 63 which, also are badly deteriorated and no longer safe for public access.

The bond measure also would fund some marine habitat restoration, including a pocket beach at South Washington Street and the use of materials that would enhance salmon survival and migration.

A second phase, for which the city hopes to secure federal funding, would complete the work to Broad Street.

Original estimates had put the cost of replacing the seawall as high as $390 million, but the city chose a less-expensive jet-grout technique to replace rotting seawall timbers, rather than drilled shafts filled with concrete. City planners say the jet-grout performs better in earthquakes but is still strong enough to last 100 years.

Additional funding for the first phase would include $30 million from the King County Flood Control District and nearly $30 million from the city’s general fund.

Comments | Topics: ballot, election, sea wall

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