City set to begin sea wall project

Port Orchard officials have given the green light to an engineering firm to begin restoring the sea wall along Bay Street at Sinclair Inlet — a project that had been held up for several years because of environmental concerns.

The eroding sea wall has made building a sidewalk along the 1800 block of Bay Street impossible. The current right-of-way also brings motorists dangerously close to the edge of the water.

The City Council voted on June 12 to give the go-ahead to a $90,000 plan that will have local volunteers removing the existing debris and workers using more than 500 cubic yards of back-filling to build up the roadway and sea wall.

A sidewalk and curbing will be installed, giving pedestrians a clear walkway from Bay Street all the way through to the Annapolis park-and-ride, said Wayne Wright, a GEO engineer working on the project.

“That portion of Bay Street has been eroding for some time,” Wright told the council during a public hearing. “Pedestrians have had to walk in the road to get past the area.”

The council heard a plan nearly five years ago that would have created a new beach waterfront along that portion of Bay Street, between Perry and Tracy Avenues. Because it is part of the state’s Shoreline Management program, and because the highway is partially funded by federal money, the project kept facing various delays.

An environmental impact report was never prepared, Wright said.

Consultant Chuck Schott came aboard in 2003, and from that point on the project has since gained momentum. Work is expected to begin in September and last about a month and a half, he said.

“We’re improving a safety concern,” Schott said. “There’s a sharp drop-off right next to the road. Cars come so close now, just a few feet and they’re over the edge. We’re creating a buffer. It provides added width for protection of vehicles and a place for pedestrians to walk.”

Money to pay for the project comes from state funds, with a separate $19,000 grant coming from the U.S. Department of Ecology to pay for cleaning up the existing materials.

City officials expect to ask volunteers, like Boy Scouts and other organizations, to step up to help clear debris as part of service project work.

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