New appeal could delay Seattle seawall project

by: Essex Porter Updated:

A new legal move could delay the $300 million project to replace Seattle's Seawall.

On Friday, the Seattle Historic Waterfront Association filed an appeal on the shoreline permit the project requires.

The appeal says the construction plan hasn't done enough to mitigate the economic impacts of the three-year project.

The stakes for waterfront businesses are high, because seawall construction will make it difficult to get to places like the Seattle Aquarium.

 "Access is very important and also gives a sense of safety," says Aquarium CEO Bob Davidson.

 The main construction won't start until after Labor Day, but Davidson anticipates losing at least 10 percent of his visitors during the winter months next year.

"There's no getting around it, it’s going to be disruptive,” Davidson says. "This is a massive project."

Construction crews are already adding new parking along Alaskan Way to replace some of the parking that will be lost.

But providing access during construction will be costly and time consuming for the contractor.

City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw says it might be more affective for the contractor to pay businesses to close temporarily so the work in front of their shops can be performed more efficiently.

"I'm not saying this is where we are going, but a possibility is that they would close down the businesses and actually pay the  businesses to be closed down." Bagshaw said.

"That would sound very good. That would be a fantastic idea," says Jay Ashberg, who recently opened Seattle Shirt Company on the waterfront.