4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Oceanside Pier rehab

El Niño or not, rusted-out underside crossbeams need replacement

Work crew aligning and pounding in bolts to support crossbeams
Work crew aligning and pounding in bolts to support crossbeams

Perhaps in preparation for this year’s predicted El Niño weather pattern and its accompanying big waves and high tides, the Oceanside Pier is getting some extra support.

Construction crews will be under the pier for the next two weeks replacing some of the rusted-out, dangling metal-pipe crossbeams; the beams strengthen the pier’s wood pilings by tying them together.

Prep work

Jeremy Albert, the foreman for Ballard Marine Construction, says his four-man crew is grateful to be working above water. Normally they’re underwater, as not only construction workers but also commercial divers. Prior to the project, his crew was in the shop for more than a month fabricating the heavy poles. “They are double-walled, a half-inch thick, and zinc-coated to prevent rusting,” said Albert.

Sponsored
Sponsored
On the construction platform

A specialized scaffolding company, Safeway Services, built the 95´x 35´ construction platform under the pier, high enough to avoid high waves, yet heavy enough to support welding equipment. The scaffolding hangs by large chains from the 12˝x 12˝ wood beams on top of the pier. The crew wears hardhats and flotation devices should they fall in the water.

The city’s director of pier maintenance, Joel Menard, says the current phase will cost $200,000 — each of the 67 replacement pipe beams costs $2600. The project has been going on for five years, as money has become available. “We’re the fourth contractor,” says Albert.

Replacement of the crossbeams is a years-long work-in-progress

“We’re only doing bent 56 through 60,” said Albert. Bent? “It means a row of pilings,” said Albert. And because his firm just opened an office in San Diego, they will bid on the future phases. (Ballard Marine is based in Seattle and has offices along both coasts and Lake Michigan; they also do marine projects around the world.)

Wood beats concrete

I asked Albert if he had to build a pier of this size from scratch, would he use concrete or wood?

“Definitely wood. The rebar in concrete eventually rusts out. This pier should last another 75 years. It’s designed to sway in earthquakes and tsunamis,” he said. (Old trestle-style railroad bridges, some with wood beams over 100 years old, are still in use along Amtrak’s line in San Diego County.)

Once the longest pier on the West Coast, Oceanside Pier lost over half its length — 600 feet of it — in a large storm (before the El Niño term was used) in 1978. The pier was completely rebuilt in 1987, but not to its original length; it now extends to 1942 feet.

Footnote: California’s public ocean piers are the only places where one may fish without a fishing license — a rationale based on the right to hunt and gather food for your family. While most public piers are open 24 hours a day, some fish species and size are regulated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Prior to the 1963 opening of the Oceanside Harbor, sportfishing boats would anchor offshore overnight, west of the pier. Fishermen, including this writer’s dad, would board the boats by climbing off the pier, down a ladder, crossing pilings on a 12-inch-wide platform, and then climb down a rope ladder, with a pole and tackle box, into the bobbing boat.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

A poem for Thanksgiving by Lydia Maria Child

The New-England Boys’ Song About Thanksgiving Day
Work crew aligning and pounding in bolts to support crossbeams
Work crew aligning and pounding in bolts to support crossbeams

Perhaps in preparation for this year’s predicted El Niño weather pattern and its accompanying big waves and high tides, the Oceanside Pier is getting some extra support.

Construction crews will be under the pier for the next two weeks replacing some of the rusted-out, dangling metal-pipe crossbeams; the beams strengthen the pier’s wood pilings by tying them together.

Prep work

Jeremy Albert, the foreman for Ballard Marine Construction, says his four-man crew is grateful to be working above water. Normally they’re underwater, as not only construction workers but also commercial divers. Prior to the project, his crew was in the shop for more than a month fabricating the heavy poles. “They are double-walled, a half-inch thick, and zinc-coated to prevent rusting,” said Albert.

Sponsored
Sponsored
On the construction platform

A specialized scaffolding company, Safeway Services, built the 95´x 35´ construction platform under the pier, high enough to avoid high waves, yet heavy enough to support welding equipment. The scaffolding hangs by large chains from the 12˝x 12˝ wood beams on top of the pier. The crew wears hardhats and flotation devices should they fall in the water.

The city’s director of pier maintenance, Joel Menard, says the current phase will cost $200,000 — each of the 67 replacement pipe beams costs $2600. The project has been going on for five years, as money has become available. “We’re the fourth contractor,” says Albert.

Replacement of the crossbeams is a years-long work-in-progress

“We’re only doing bent 56 through 60,” said Albert. Bent? “It means a row of pilings,” said Albert. And because his firm just opened an office in San Diego, they will bid on the future phases. (Ballard Marine is based in Seattle and has offices along both coasts and Lake Michigan; they also do marine projects around the world.)

Wood beats concrete

I asked Albert if he had to build a pier of this size from scratch, would he use concrete or wood?

“Definitely wood. The rebar in concrete eventually rusts out. This pier should last another 75 years. It’s designed to sway in earthquakes and tsunamis,” he said. (Old trestle-style railroad bridges, some with wood beams over 100 years old, are still in use along Amtrak’s line in San Diego County.)

Once the longest pier on the West Coast, Oceanside Pier lost over half its length — 600 feet of it — in a large storm (before the El Niño term was used) in 1978. The pier was completely rebuilt in 1987, but not to its original length; it now extends to 1942 feet.

Footnote: California’s public ocean piers are the only places where one may fish without a fishing license — a rationale based on the right to hunt and gather food for your family. While most public piers are open 24 hours a day, some fish species and size are regulated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Prior to the 1963 opening of the Oceanside Harbor, sportfishing boats would anchor offshore overnight, west of the pier. Fishermen, including this writer’s dad, would board the boats by climbing off the pier, down a ladder, crossing pilings on a 12-inch-wide platform, and then climb down a rope ladder, with a pole and tackle box, into the bobbing boat.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Bluefin still holding out as season turns

Yellowtail missing at Coronados
Next Article

San Diego in books - PSA crash, WWII doubles the town, Oak Tree Canyon, Led Zeppelin

The Secrets of Harry Bright, Mirror at the End of the Road, Brown Hills, Hammer of the Gods, "Port of Navy Wives"
Comments
2

Seems like only a few years ago that the pier was reconstructed. Eh, that was in the late 80's when they raised funds by having folks pay to have their names carved on the slats below the railing. In recent years the decking was getting heavily weathered, and some parts of it were replaced. More recently I didn't notice that. But nothing lasts forever, and the fact that steel crossbeams are already rusted through and dangling proves it. I would quibble with the superintendent who claims the replacements are zinc coated to "prevent" rusting. It's more like delaying the inevitable corrosion and need to be replaced once again.

Sept. 5, 2015

Someone I spoke to that knows water-based construction said the city should have actually used wood supports, then you only replace the metal bolts, not the wood beams, much less costly.

Sept. 5, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close