Seattle City Council updated on Seawall Project, January 13

Rendering of Seattle’s waterfront after the Seawall Project is complete. The new sidewalk will have embedded glass to transmit light to the habitat below.

Rendering of Seattle’s waterfront after the Seawall Project is complete. The new sidewalk will have embedded glass to transmit light to the habitat below.

Today, SDOT briefed the Seattle City Council on the current status of the Elliott Bay Seawall Project. With an updated commitment to project transparency and accountablity, this was the first presentation on the seawall project to the City Council since the recent transition to the new Mayoral administration. The briefing included the current work underway, project budget and schedule, and remaining issues SDOT continues to watch to keep on schedule for this critical public safety project.

Seawall Project construction: January – August 2014

Seawall Project construction: January – August 2014

Here are some of the key highlights from today’s presentation:

  • Construction is underway and progressing. Most of the project’s initial construction activities focused on building the temporary roadway alignment of Alaskan Way between Madison and Pike streets. The new alignment moves traffic underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct to allow room for the contractor to replace the aging seawall. Traffic was shifted to the temporary roadway last week. Upcoming work through Spring/Summer 2014 will be focused near Waterfront Park, and at the southern portion of the project near Yesler Way.
  • The current project estimate has been refined, still within existing funding options for the city. As recently reported, the costs expected for the Central Seawall project are now higher than the original projection of $300 million. As this complex project progressed, it became possible to more accurately estimate costs, resulting in a current project budget of $330 million. This revision was made with a better understanding of project risks and refined designs in a complex, historic environment, including:

—Agreements executed to complete permits, such as historic preservation, fishing rights, as well as for loss of access to historic piers;
—Execution of the general contractor construction contract, including contingency fees;  and
—Establishment of City contingency budget based on known risks of the project.

Funding for the project remains the same. Seattle voters passed a $290 million bond in November 2012 providing a total of $350 million for both the seawall project and initial work on public pier reconstruction. There is the potential for funds previously identified for the public piers to be reallocated to cover the difference between $300 million and $330 million.

  • Project risks are being actively managed. The seawall is a once-in-a-lifetime project in a complex, historic, and environmentally sensitive project area. The city remains committed to working toward completion by mid 2016 to address this critical safety project, and so that following work – including removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct – can also remain on schedule.
  •  Next steps for the Seawall Project: Now that traffic has shifted under the viaduct, the Seawall Project has started work west of the viaduct. Initial work includes adding on-street parking spaces and moving the access to ferry queuing lanes. Over the next several months, most work will focus on construction activities south of Colman Dock, including installing the new seawall and preparing the Washington Street Boat Landing pergola for transport to an off-site location for restoration. Work will also take place between Pike and University streets (near Waterfront Park), including jet grout tests, relocation of utilities, rip rap removal and pile installation.

Work in the southern end of the Seawall Project area requires close coordination with the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Program (AWV). Currently, the Seawall Project has temporarily acquired part of the AWV work area south of Colman Dock to complete work associated with renovation the Washington Street Boat Landing pergola. Coordination with AWV and other project partners will continue to take place as the project moves forward.

You can find a copy of today’s presentation here. For more information about the Seawall Project visit www.waterfrontseattle.org/seawall .