Portsmouth seawall to open Friday after four-month delay

City: Project has cost $534K more than expected

The Portsmouth seawall will reopen on Nov. 10 after delays.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A portion of the seawall is set to open Friday after multiple delays and an additional $534,000 in funding to complete the promenade.

In Nov. 2015, the city deemed the seawall unsafe following an underwater inspection that revealed structural deficiencies.

Two years later, the walkway will re-open from High Street Landing to the Renaissance Hotel.

“I walk after dinner just about every day, and I generally thread myself along the seawall,” said Duane Craps, who has been forced to walk around the construction.

James Wright, a city engineer, says the project was scheduled to be completed in July and then pushed back to the beginning of September before the final completion date of Nov. 10.

Wright says construction crews needed more time to work below the water and to install additional concrete and pilings.

The extra work tacked on $390,000 by August and a total of $535,000 to date.

“You really never know what you are going to find once you start digging down,” said Mayor John Rowe, who defends the extra spending. “You are surprised just digging in dirt, but here you are digging in dirt and you are in the water.”

The seawall has all new concrete, railings and lights.

“When those lights come on, it’s going to really accent the waterfront,” said Rowe. “It’s going to be like a mouse trap for attracting people.”

Deb Weaver, a boater from the Outer Banks, says she plans to walk on the promenade Friday.

Weaver says the seawall is a good step, but she hopes the city will invest more in the waterfront with restaurants and other new businesses.

“I hope they keep working on it, so that in the end it reaches its potential,” said Weaver.

Crews have started work on the next portion of the seawall, from High Street Landing to City Hall, which should be done before the end of 2018.

So far, the city has approved $20 million in funding for seawall improvements. Wright says there are several areas that need attention that do not yet have funding.