(2014 US Army Corps of Engineers photo of failing seawall)
From City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s newest weekly update – a milestone for the Beach Drive seawall project that’s been years in the making. How many years? For one – the 475-foot stretch of seawall itself, at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook, is 90 years old. For two – it’s been three years since the official public-comment period that accompanied an announcement from the Army Corps of Engineers of its agreement with Seattle Parks, and even that followed years of consideration, Beach Drive Blog pointed out earlier in 2014. Now, Herbold writes (sixth item here), a vote this past week puts the project on the road to construction starting next year:
The Council passed an agreement between the City’s Parks Department and the US Army Corps of Engineers to replace the seawall at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park (along) Beach Drive. The seawall was originally built in 1927, and is nearing the end of its useful life; it has a 30% probability of failure during a storm event, and by 2025 will have a 60% probability of failure. It’s 500 feet long, and supports important infrastructure, including a sewer main, a PSE gas line, a storm sewer main, and a water main.
The estimated cost is $2.8 million; the agreement provides for 65% federal funding, and 35% from Parks (approximately $1 million). After detailed design and permitting are completed, construction is anticipated for Autumn of 2018, with completion by Spring 2019.
I asked whether the design accounts for climate change and sea level rise; the Project Management Plan notes that the new seawall “will be two feet higher than the existing structure “to account for increased storm wave heights and future sea-level rise.”
Earlier this month, the Office of Sustainability & Environment released a Preparing for Climate Change report, which noted this seawall as being at risk from sea level rise.
The report notes that sea level rise increases the potential for overtopping of seawalls, and notes that “newer seawalls and other structures have been designed to accommodate projected sea level rise.”
Seattle Public Utilities has a map showing areas in Seattle most likely to be affected by sea-level rise.
Thanks to Councilmember Juarez, Chair of the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee, for shepherding the legislation through committee.
If you look back at our 2014 story (linked in the first paragraph), you’ll note the cost has gone up – still split two-to-one between federal and local funding, but it’s now estimated at $2.8 million, up from $2.3 million.