News Releases

Murray Secures Funding for Elliot Bay Seawall

Jul 16 2003

Murray secures $500,000 in Senate bill to fund study, planning and design to replace aging seawall

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) secured $500,000 in the Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations Bill to pay for the first steps in replacing the Elliot Bay Seawall.

The 67-year old seawall has suffered from erosion and earthquake damage and is vulnerable to collapse. Studies have shown that within the next 10 years there is a 1-in-20 chance the viaduct and seawall will fail during a strong earthquake. Any failure of the seawall would have a devastating impact on both the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the area’s businesses and residents.

“This funding will help the City of Seattle address an urgent public safety and transportation priority,” Murray said. “The Elliot Bay Seawall is a critical part of our region’s infrastructure, and in this tight budget year, the funding will help us take the first steps to replace this vulnerable structure.”

On July 1, Murray attended a community forum on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which was sponsored by the Duwamish Transportation Management Association. Last year, Murray secured $2 million in the Senate’s FY 2003 Transportation bill to conduct environment and preliminary planning work on the seawall and viaduct.

Also last year, Murray secured $100,000 to enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a “reconnaissance study” to determine if there is a federal interest in repairing the seawall. If there is a federal interest, then the federal government could pay for a portion of the cost. That reconnaissance study will be released shortly. Anticipating that the study will confirm a federal interest, Murray moved forward today to secure funding for the next step in the process.

At a meeting today of the Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, of which she is a member, Senator Murray secured $500,000 for a feasibility study. The multi-year study would include environmental impact statements, planning and preliminary design. It would be conducted jointly by the City of Seattle and the Corps of Engineers. Both parties would split the costs. The funding Murray secured today would cover the federal share of the study.

Now that the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee has approved the funding, the bill will go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow (July 17). Murray is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The House of Representative’s Energy and Water bill included only $32,000 for the Elliot Bay Seawall.