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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Seattle moves forward with replacing the seawall

12/4/2012  10:30:00 AM

Seattle moves forward with replacing the seawall
Mayor expresses appreciation for voters approving the seawall ballot measure

SEATTLE - Today Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Peter Hahn updated the public and press on the city's progress in replacing the aging Elliott Bay Seawall. In just the past month, the city achieved 60 percent design on the project, released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, selected a general contractor to build it, and secured Seattle voters' approval of $240 million to complete its funding package.

"I thank Seattle voters for their overwhelming support for this critical public safety infrastructure project," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "We have successfully completed several important milestones so far, including retaining a general contractor for this work. I am looking forward to continuing to work with our project partners as we move ahead on replacing our deteriorating seawall."

The Elliott Bay Seawall is a critical piece of infrastructure that supports the downtown Seattle waterfront and adjacent marine and upland structures, including major regional utilities, surface Alaskan Way, SR 99, Washington State Ferries' Colman Dock, the BNSF railway, Port of Seattle operations, and various commercial and residential buildings. Replacing the seawall will protect the waterfront from coastal storm damage and seismic damage, and will set the stage for the future waterfront. The new seawall would also provide opportunities for enhancing habitat restoration, transportation infrastructure and public amenities.

In the November 6 election, Seattle voters approved (with 77 percent of the vote) a public bond measure in the amount of $290 million for the seawall and nearby piers. The design, environmental analysis and construction of the central seawall from South Washington Street to Virginia Street are estimated to cost $300 million. With $30 million in city funding and a King County Flood Control District $30 million grant secured, the city now has the remaining $240 million needed to complete the project.

Working closely with stakeholders, the Central Waterfront Committee and waterfront designers, the city also recently made significant progress on seawall project design and environmental analysis. The project achieved 60 percent design in early November and published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on November 13. SDOT additionally selected the joint venture of Mortenson Construction and Manson Construction Company as the general contractor/construction manager for the project. SDOT is moving forward to complete design, and secure the environmental clearances and permits necessary to start construction in 2013.

The oldest and most vulnerable portion of the seawall, the central seawall from Washington to Virginia streets, will be constructed between fall 2013 and early 2016 over three construction seasons. The city is committed to keeping the waterfront accessible throughout construction, and will work to support the economic vitality of the waterfront and minimize construction impacts.

To let the public learn more about the project and its environmental analysis, and also provide their comments, the seawall project team will host an open house on the Draft EIS on December 5 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Bell Harbor Conference Center. The 30-day public comment period on the Draft EIS closes on December 13, 2012. More information about the seawall project is available at:

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Office of the Mayor

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