Work continues on the first phase of the multimillion dollar construction project to repair several thousand feet of the seawall that protects Marina del Rey, Los Angeles County officials said.

The county Board of Supervisors approved $5.4 million in funding in December from a capital outlay fund for the first phase of the project, which will repair the “largest and most critical gaps” in the Marina seawall, county officials said.

The Marina del Rey seawall runs along approximately 7.2 miles of land within the Marina and consists of 728 reinforced concrete panels.

Construction work on the first phase of the project, which began last month, focuses on repairs along 1,600 feet of the seawall.

County officials say voids of varying sizes have been detected at the bottom of about 17,600 lineal feet of the seawall throughout the Marina.

The voids, which have the potential to compromise the long-term structural integrity of the seawall, have resulted from consolidation and loss of underlying soils from groundwater fluctuations caused by tidal changes, officials said.

Repairs of the voids are necessary to prevent a potential collapse of the seawall, which is a “key public infrastructure component” that protects residents and visitors to the Marina, said Aaron Nevarez, spokesman for Supervisor Don Knabe.

“These seawall repairs are absolutely critical and will be completed as soon as possible,” Knabe said. “This project is designed to further increase the safety of the residents and visitors of Marina del Rey.”

While the seawall voids have not created any unsafe conditions, the repair project is being conducted as a preventative measure, said Lt. Greg Nelson of the Sheriff’s Department Marina station, who also serves as the Marina harbormaster.

“The whole idea is to get to it before it becomes a hazardous condition,” Nelson said.

Construction for the first phase of the project includes grouting voids, the placement of filter fabric and bedding stone and the installation of a three-foot-minimum layer of armor-rock protection at the base of the wall.

The work is being carried out primarily by a team of divers through the use of a water-based derrick crane, and in some areas the rock is placed using a land-based crane, county officials said.

Contractors coordinate the construction schedule with local businesses in an effort to minimize the disruption of services and access to docks.

Work on the first phase is expected to be completed by December, Nevarez said.