Community Q&A as years-in-the-works Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook seawall project gets closer

July 21, 2019 10:25 pm
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 |   Safety | West Seattle beaches | West Seattle news | West Seattle parks

Construction of a new seawall at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook is still about a year away.

But reps from Seattle Parks and the Army Corps of Engineers presented a briefing this past week so interested people would know how the project will proceed. About 30 people showed up for the briefing/Q&A at Alki Community Center.

It’s been more than five years in the planning – we first mentioned it in this 2014 report. The potential failure of the 500-foot-long stretch of seawall threatens other infrastructure including a 4 1/2-foot-wide sewer pipeline.

Briefers included Jeff Dillon, project manager for the Corps, and Garrett Farrell, the Seattle Parks lead. Dillon said the design is finished (see it here), and that the new seawall will be built a bit closer to the water than the existing one. They expect to solicit bids shortly and choose a contractor by early September. The new seawall “won’t look much different,” concerned neighbors were assured. Farrell said a stainless-steel guard rail will be added to the slightly-higher-than-now wall, but the wall still won’t be visible from street level (“unless you’re lying down in your yard”), and there are no new public-access features.

Questions that were answered included:

-Is the project fully funded? Yes. (It’s a combination of federal and local funding.)

-Will the current rockery be affected? It’s not being touched, aside from “tying in” the new seawall.

-What’s the projected construction time? May through October next year.

-Will there be nighttime work? Not anticipated.

-Will most of the construction be done from shore or offshore (say, via barge)? Depends on the contractor. (Same goes for whether construction will affect traffic in the area, we were told when asking a followup question post-meeting.)

-Why not just dump a bunch of rocks there, since that would seem cheaper? The benefit of the type of seawall planned is that it’s a “nice, tight structure.”

-Seawall stats? The new one will be 19.6 feet high, 2.6 feet higher than the current one. The top of the railing will be about a foot below the sidewalk.

-What’s the project budget? $3.9 million. (We note that’s about 50 percent more than projected back in 2014.)

-How many piles will be driven? 74, in a window between July 15th and August 30th (2020).

-What’s the wall made of? Concrete & steel.

-What about the landscaping? Due to project timing and weather, the grass at the site might not be restored until 2021.

-How far down is the endangered 54″-diameter sewer pipe? Five or six feet on the south end of the seawall, 10′ on the north end.

Got project questions?

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