Seattle's waterfront seawall is one step closer to being in place

SEATTLE -- A major piece of the seawall is going into place along Seattle's waterfront.

"It's an exciting milestone for the project," said Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Jessica Murphy.

Crews have been installing big pieces -- 18,000 pounds each -- called Z-panels.

"They will support the sidewalk that has this embedded glass that allows light to transmit below. It's the single biggest piece of infrastructure we set on the project," said Murphy.

The new seawall replaces the old wall that was weakened by the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.

It takes creativity to work so close to the Sound. Crews are using barriers and even ice to hold back the water during high tide.

"They actually built the original seawall, they waited for the tides to come in and out every day and it took them decades to build," said Murphy. "We're going to do it in three years."

They need precision to make that deadline. Sixteen Z-panels will go in every day and if they are even a quarter-inch off it could spell disaster.

The total cost of the seawall is estimated at $330 million.