Crosscut’s Bryan Johnson sat down with the Mayor in an exclusive interview to discuss how to make sure waterfront projects fit together, what his biggest frustration in office has been and the status of changes to the police department.
The major topic of conversation was the waterfront, including what the Mayor intends to do about a $40 million cost overrun for the rebuilding of Seattle’s Elliott Bay seawall and how a damaged tunnel boring machine might affect progress on the waterfront. Mayor Murray reaffirmed that, despite problems with the tunnel project, work on the waterfront will continue and will do so under the management of a newly created Office of the Waterfront.
“It is a serious problem. It’s one that we tried to raise during the campaign and were told it wasn’t a problem. It turns out that actually the Seattle Department of Transportation had the information that [there] was a 40 billion cost overrun. That came out after the election. It’s now my problem. …
“We are bringing on new project managers, individuals who have had experience managing major mega projects, including tunneling. I think the problem has been, [SDOT] has not had the capacity and the skill level to manage a mega project. So we’re going to bring people in who can help us manage that project and help us keep costs under control.
“I believe in the current budget that we can find the savings to make up the difference for the cost overrun, but that’s just our preliminary look.”