Alaskan Way Seawall

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The Alaskan Way Seawall is a seawall which runs for 7,000 feet (2,100 m) along the Elliott Bay waterfront southwest of downtown Seattle from Bay Street to S. Washington Street.[citation needed] The seawall is being built in the 2010s as part of a waterfront redevelopment megaproject estimated to cost over one billion dollars.[1]


First slab of Seattle Central Waterfront seawall being placed, 1934

The seawall was built to provide level access to Seattle's piers and supports the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Alaskan Way itself, which is a surface street. Completed in 1934, the seawall was built on top of wood piling.[citation needed]


Recently[when?], the seawall has significantly deteriorated due to wood-eating gribbles.[citation needed]

In addition, everything behind the seawall from Alaskan Way to Western Avenue is built on top of fill, making for a very dangerous situation should a large earthquake occur.[opinion][clarification needed][citation needed]

The viaduct itself has been considered particularly at risk[opinion]; the Washington State Department of Transportation states that there is a 1-in-20 chance that it could be shut down by an earthquake within the next decade,[2] and so plans have been underway to replace both seawall and viaduct. The seawall rebuild project was estimated to cost $350 million as part of an overall waterfront redevelopment budgeted in 2012 at $1.07 billion.[1][3]

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Coordinates: 47°36′16″N 122°20′21″W / 47.60444°N 122.33917°W / 47.60444; -122.33917