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What’s a Seawall alternative?


The Elliott Bay Seawall Project has developed two alternatives for environmental analysis, which were presented to the City Council on April 25. But what does that really mean? Well, it means that we have two “bookend” alternatives to replace the seawall that cover a range of impacts, providing time for the final design of the seawall to evolve over the next eight months. By bracketing these potential options and evaluating a range of impacts, we are keeping our options open through final design, to ensure as much time as possible for coordination with the Waterfront Seattle design team, led by james corner field operations.

Each of our alternatives includes the following elements: the location of the seawall, a structural solution, habitat enhancement measures, a restored roadway and pedestrian/bicycle facilities, opportunities for early implementation, and flexibility for Waterfront Seattle. It is likely that the final alternative will include elements of both alternatives; you can compare the elements of the alternatives here

Alternative A keeps the seawall and sidewalk as close to the current location as possible, while adding habitat benefits along the waterfront.

Alternative B is a more dramatic difference from today’s seawall—the face of the wall is pulled eastward as much as 75 feet near the Seattle Aquarium. This alternative preserves the possibility for additional habitat enhancements and public access at the water’s edge.

Costs of both alternatives were also discussed with Council and range from $335 million to $416 million (including utilities). The City of Seattle will continue to seek funding for construction of the seawall, including through our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Design and environmental analysis for the seawall project is funded through 2012. For more information about the Elliott Bay Seawall Project, feel free to contact us at