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A $420,000 project to replace almost all of the planks on the Imperial Beach pier wrapped up last week in time for the Memorial Day weekend, which drew 55,000 people to the pier and sands, according to I.B. lifeguard Robert Stabenow.

The San Diego Unified Port District paid for the pier project, done by Just Construction, Inc.

"They worked at night because the pier is so popular, no one wanted it shut down during the day," port district spokeswoman Tanya Casteneda said.

The pier was originally built in 1963 but was destroyed during a storm approximately 20 years later (according to multiple sources that note no specific year). It was reconstructed in the 1980s, 1491 feet from the sand to the end.

The last major upgrade was in 2006, and some planks were replaced in 2010, Casteneda said. The construction crew replaced about 90 percent of the planks.

"The problem is uneven wear — it makes the surface bumpy from plank to plank," Casteneda said. "We had to make sure the surface was even so people don't trip."

The construction crew laid 6.5 linear miles of planks — enough to make a thin bridge to Coronado's city hall, by their calculation.

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