U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, and City of Seattle officials will meet with Corps headquarters officials May 7 for the Elliott Bay Seawall General Investigation studyâs Feasibility Scoping Meeting, or FSM.
âThis is a major milestone in the Corpsâ Civil Works study process,â Seattle District Commander Col. Bruce A. Estok said. âThis is a huge step as we have worked several years in anticipation of the FSM and moving this important project forward.â
The General Investigation, including authorities of the federal Water Resources Development Act of 2007, studies the feasibility and federal interest in replacing the more than 75-year old Seattle Seawall with one that meets current seismic design codes. This will ensure public safety by protecting the Seattle waterfront and associated transportation, utility and port infrastructure from coastal storm damage.
The FSM is the first high-level agency review during the federal study phase. Corps officials from the national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and regional headquarters in Portland, Ore., will conduct the project review with Seattle District and City of Seattle officials and congressional representatives.
Seattle District and City of Seattle officials have worked closely on the cost-shared study since August 2004. The review will consider the studiesâ problems and opportunities, while evaluating existing conditions to set the baseline against which various future alternatives will be considered. Ultimately the review confirms the federal interest in moving forward.
âIf approved by headquarters, and pending future federal funding, the FSM will lead to the next steps of alternatives development, design and environmental analysis in the federal study process,â Estok said. âAll of this is required before the Corpsâ submits a report to Congress and the project is considered and funded for constructionâ.
Owing to the extended timeline in completing the federal process, and out of a concern for public safety, City of Seattle officials have taken the initiative to move the project forward in advance of the federal study, with the goal of starting construction in late 2013. Towards this, the city initiated a separate Corps permit application to undertake work in Elliot Bay. A pre-application meeting with representatives from multiple state and federal agencies was held at the Seattle District offices on March 21 to discuss the permitting process.
The cityâs permit application was received by the districtâs Regulatory Branch on April 5. The application and associated documents are currently under review and receiving high priority as the Seattle District begins the environmental compliance analysis and decision-making process according to federal law.
Dredging Today Staff, May 3, 2012; Image: seattle.gov