Nervous Naples residents can now breathe sigh of relief. The plan to fix the 108-year-old seawalls that protect to the island from flooding during a storm or earthquake is back on track. The city and the California Coastal Commission have been working on a plan to repair the dilapidated seawalls, but have disagreed on the method.
The city wants to fix the seawalls on the waterside, while the commission prefers a landside approach. That issue, however, appears to have been ironed out and the repair project is now on the agenda for the Coastal Commission’s October meeting.
“The Naples seawalls are in dire need of repair and must be addressed,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster stated in a press release. “Fortunately, a mutually agreeable solution appears to be in sight.”
The century-old seawalls are at risk of collapse from a moderate earthquake, which according to the United States Geological Survey is around 5.0 to 6.0 on the Richter scale, according to the city’s news release. Since the seawalls are considered public infrastructure, the city has reserved $9.2 million in Tidelands funding for the project, the release said.
The city has studied the commission’s landside approach and found that it was unfeasible because it would double the cost and resulted in the removal of mature trees and public walkway along the canals, and destabilize house foundations, according to the release. The city’s plan, which has taken into consideration the commission’s objections, is to install a new cantilevered sheet pile wall that will not require any tie back anchors, and provide maximum protection to adjacent infrastructure, the release said.
“Since joining the Coastal Commission a few months ago, I've been working with coastal and city staff on a win-win project that addresses our immediate needs in Naples. I'm thankful to the Naples Seawall Committee for their extraordinary advocacy and work,” Vice Mayor Robert Garcia stated in a news release.
Councilman Gary DeLong, whose district includes Naples, agreed.
“I’m pleased we are finally moving forward with this project,” he stated. “While I had hoped this project could have moved more quickly, I am encouraged that both sides are working together to fix this critical issue.”
Though the approval is not assured, the city is going ahead with finalizing the plans and preparing bid documents to expedite the process once all the approvals come, according to the release.