Thursday, September 06, 2018

Credit Where It's Due

The 100-year-old seawall enabled the construction of modern San Francisco (Port of SF image)

(Chronicle / Port of SF image)
In November San Francisco voters will decide whether to pay $425 million for "the engineering, design and construction of the first round of improvements to the 3-mile-long" Embarcadero seawall.

There are two major problems, one short-term and one long-term, with the seawall: [bold added]
A major earthquake could make the aging barrier of rocks and concrete lurch out into the bay while the soils behind it turn to soggy mush. But the estimated cost of needed seismic repairs already is at least $2 billion. Adapting it to prepare for 5 feet or more of sea-level rise could double the price tag.
It's not often that we say this, but two cheers for the City: 1) San Francisco will be addressing a deferred-maintenance problem before, it is hoped, the Big One causes office towers to tumble into the Bay; 2) San Francisco will spend $billions on "unseen infrastructure"--if you can't see it or touch it, it often doesn't get done.

We're not giving three cheers because, after all, Measure A hasn't passed yet. Also, the final project costs will undoubtedly exceed the expected $2 billion and even the maximum estimated $5 billion. Nevertheless, credit where it's due.

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