Ballot measure seeks to rebuild aging seawall along San Francisco waterfront

Along the San Francisco waterfront, all that is keeping the bay, at bay, is the Embarcadero Seawall. But the three and a half-mile barrier that runs from AT&T Park to Fisherman's Wharf is getting old and starting to show its 100- plus years of age.

Without the seawall "there's no ballpark. No Ferry Building. No Fisherman's Wharf. It's all under water," said Elaine Forbes, executive director of the San Francisco Port.

Forbes says the wall is vulnerable to two inevitable crises, a major earthquake and rising sea level. 

"We've done engineering studies that show in a major earthquake the seawall will not hold, and in fact, push the seawall bay ward because the soil around it will liquify," said Forbes.

City leaders want to rebuild the seawall. They are supporting Proposition A on next month's San Francisco ballot.

It is a $425 million bond measure to help take the seawall from the last century into the next one. It will take a two-thirds majority to pass it.

The measure is backed unanimously by the board of supervisors and many environmental groups.

The only public opposition is from the Libertarian Party which wrote in the voters guide: "If businesses leasing waterfront property from the port commission want those properties to be better protected against bay water spillover, they can pay for it themselves," it reads.

Supporters say the wall will likely be raised several feet in some areas, to account for an anticipated sea  level rise of six feet over the next 80 years. The area  already floods here during King Tides.

"That's the main thing, understanding what it is and what it does and that it does well for us over the next hundred years," said Forbes.

The port says the plan is to rebuild crucial parts of the wall over the next eight years. The rest of the rebuild is expected to take until 2050.