Final stage underway on Oceanside Pier repairs

Final stage underway on Oceanside Pier repairs
The 129-year-old Oceanside Pier, which was last rebuilt in 1987, is having its concrete bridge patched and worn decks replaced. Courtesy photo

OCEANSIDE — The 129-year-old Oceanside Pier, which was last rebuilt in 1987, is having its concrete bridge patched and worn decks replaced.

In late November safety fences and scaffolding were put in place to repair the final southwest quadrant of the walkway bridge that connects Pacific Street and Pier View Way with the wood pier.

“Pier View Way Bridge was constructed in 1926 and started to show significant signs of distress from being in a severe marine environment,” city public works director Kiel Koger said.

Moisture from constant saltwater spray has caused reinforced steel within the bridge to corrode and exterior concrete to crack and fall off.

Visual examination and sounding tests have been used to identify distressed areas that need repair. Then worn areas are sandblasted and cleaned, and rust inhibitor and patching material is applied to strengthen areas.

Repair work ensures safety for those walking on and under the pedestrian bridge.

“This work will repair the spalled areas and eliminate the potential of falling concrete,” Koger said.

Bridge repair work began in August 2016. A quarter of the double walking bridge has been repaired at a time.

Work on the third section was finished in May. Then the project was put on pause during the summer tourist season.

Repairs that recently restarted on the final quadrant of the bridge are expected to be completed in March 2018.

The cost for overall bridge repairs is about $700,000. The final section is expected to cost $200,000 of the total amount.

Current work will ensure the bridge is in solid condition until the city can secure $10 million to $15 million in funding to replace or completely rehabilitate the bridge walkway.

The pier is estimated to last until 2030. At this point the city does not have a timeline to replace it.

“The bridge will eventually need to be replaced or retrofitted,” Koger said.

At the other end of the aging pier, 4,400 square feet of decking is being replaced.

This project has also been done in phases in order to cause the least amount of disruption to residents and visitors enjoying the pier.

Current work is around Ruby’s Diner, which sits at the end of the pier. The restaurant will remain open while work is being completed in a barricaded off area.

“This is the last section of decking that needs to be replaced,” Koger said.

Decking on the 1,500-foot pier was last replaced more than 30 years ago. Around the same time residents who donated money to support the city’s 1988 centennial celebration had their names permanently carved on the pier’s wood handrails.

The cost for the final section of boardwalk replacement is approximately $60,000.

The project is funded through the city’s pier maintenance budget, which also funds the regular replacement of groups of the 2,000 steel braces under the pier.

Ongoing decking repairs are expected to be completed at the same time as bridge walkway repairs.

A brief history of Oceanside piers

1888

construction begins on a wharf intended to jut 1,500 feet into the ocean from the foot of what is now called Wisconsin Street. Local leaders hoped it would help make Oceanside a commercial center and investors make pledges ranging from $10 to $5,000.

1891

A furious storm sweeps away all but 300 feet of the wharf. Pilings and planks are piled up behind the South Pacific Hotel at 3rd Street, whose proprietor, Melchior Pieper, begins lobbying for construction of a new pier nearer his businesses.

1894

Construction begins in June and is completed in September on a 600-foot-long wharf with iron pilings. Objections to the new location were overcome when Pieper and hotelier Anson P. Hotaling donated $450 to the effort and agreed to board workers for free.

1904

A third pier is built of 140 tons of second-hand steel purchased from the Southern California Railway Co. The Oceanside Electric Co. agrees to light it free for a year in 1908.

1916

When San Diego County is devastated by flooding, the pier is used for offloading food, fuel and other supplies for Oceanside and surrounding communities.

1927

A dedication ceremony is held on the July 4 weekend for the city’s fourth pier, built at a cost of about $93,900. By the late-1940s it is apparent again that the the wave-battered pier will have to be replaced.

1947

In June, a fifth pier is dedicated after voters agree to sell $200,000 in bonds to fund construction. Spanning 1,900 feet — the longest then on the West Coast — the white-railed pier featured a 28-passenger tram and white railing.

1975

The city’s public works director, Alton L. Ruden, says the pier “could collapse at any time” and is frequently closed.

1976

A 600-square-foot section collapses during a storm and, later, a fire breaks out in the Pier Fishiing Market halfway out. Later the same year, the Pier Cafe is destroyed by fire. In 1978, a storm shortens the pier by 200 feet.

1987

In September, the existing pier is dedicated with an estimated lifespan of 50 years. It is built to accommodate a fire truck and its buildings are outfitted with sprinklers. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in San Diego County.

— Compiled from a 2015 history written by Kristi Hawthorn for the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce

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