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McDermott wants to get moving on sea wall replacement
U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott wrote in a sternly worded letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the department needs to get moving on a replacement for Seattle's Elliott Bay sea wall.
McDermott's pressure at the federal level comes just as the Seattle City Council prepares to put a funding ballot measure for a sea wall replacement before voters in November. They must vote by early July to place a bond measure on the ballot.
The aging sea wall has been considered an emergency situation for at least five years. City Council member Tom Rasmussen said he welcomes the letter.
"It's an important statement of the urgency and I hope it's a wakeup call that the corps needs," he said.
The Seattle City Council will be briefed Monday on the latest cost estimate for the project, which is about $325 million.
In his letter, McDermott wrote the sea wall is a threat to public safety. Delaying the federal funding and environmental studies necessary could delay the project so long that it would have to be done separately from the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement. That would rip up the waterfront twice, McDermott wrote.
He also warned the corps to stop postponing meetings and to consider the project a single project even though it is being done in two phases.
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