From released report
The Ocean Beach Pier has been closed since January 2021 due to storm damage yet its fate remains unknown after a report reveals it has “reached the end of its service life.”
The 364-page, $700,000 tax-payer funded report from civil engineering firm Moffatt & Nicol details the pier damages.
A simple visual inspection of the pier and you can see where it slopes downward and upward again, creating a sag.
This sag is the lowest point on the pier and the weakest link, where most of the serious damage is happening, according to the report.
Also noted are cracked pilings and corrosion above and below the water; Vertical cracks on approximately 25 percent of the piles during the inspection; Seven piles that have significant spalling and a possible loss of pre-stress in one or more strands.
These findings, along with the "end of life" determination, were disclosed in 2017. Since then, the pier, built in 1966, has been closed multiple times due to wave events.
Despite requests by the Ocean Beach Town Council for information regarding its condition, none was released.
“Clearly there was some decision made somewhere not to release this report to the general public,” Mark Winkie, president of the Ocean Beach Town Council says. “The pier will open again, it’ll be repaired cosmetically…probably within a month or so. The report will get pushed into the background again but this is a really important issue.
"Every day, every week, every month that goes by, the pier becomes less safe…the saltwater is getting into the interior parts of it, cracking that rebar out and destroying the concrete…all it will take is one big storm to finish it…we weren’t given the facts…there was no plan and it’s only now because this has come to light that they are talking about putting together some sort of advisory panel to figure out what to do. Why wasn’t that done back in 2019?”
The report, finalized on September 3, 2019, was made public after it was obtained by the OB Rag in April 2021. City Council president Jennifer Campbell, who represents the city's council district 2, which includes Ocean Beach, said Friday that although she had been asking for an update, her office had not seen the report.
“The Ocean Beach Pier has been a treasured part of our city since it was opened in 1966,” Campbell said. “But the pier has sustained significant damage through the years. My office has asked for updates on the extent of the latest damage since it was first closed earlier this year. Unfortunately, the recently released assessment report was not made available to my office. I thank Geoff Page at the OB Rag for bringing this 2019 report to light which gives us a realistic look at the condition of the pier."
There are three solutions explored in the report. Repair, replace, or rehabilitate. The repair option comes with a $8M+ price tag and no promise of longevity. Rehabilitation of the pier would cost roughly $30-$50M. Replacing the pier entirely would cost $40-$60M, permits alone taking up to five years.
“The pier is about one step away from being shut down, one big storm away from having some serious catastrophic failure,” says Winkie. “It’s great to get people back out on the pier but that’s not the story, the story is what are you going to do about it long term?”