Pier questions answered

Anna Maria Pier
City commissioners are expected to decide soon on the materials that will be used to build a new pier. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The city’s engineering firm has formally responded to questions posed by community members about replacing the Anna Maria City Pier.

Holmes Beach resident Nancy Deal and others asked about the condition and proposed replacement of the pier at the City Commission’s Dec. 6 pier meeting.

Jay Saxena, from the Ayres Associates design and engineering firm, answered the questions in a Dec. 16 memo to City Clerk LeAnne Addy.

The memo notes that soil samples from the pier area would be taken; that occurred earlier this month.

“The soil drilling data obtained by the geotechnical engineer shall provide a clearer picture of the subsurface soils,” the Ayres memo states.

Commissioners are expected to decide soon on Ayres’ October recommendation to use concrete pilings and composite decking for the construction of a new pier. The pier was closed in September and will remain closed until a new pier is built.

Pier Q&A

Here are some of the questions and answers, presented verbatim, from the Ayres memo:

Have all the pilings failed or just some?
All the piles have not visibly failed but many have. Current soil conditions along with current design code requirements will be evaluated.

Is it possible to remediate only those pilings that have failed?
It is possible to remediate only those piles that have failed but an evaluation of the entire structure along with its adherence to current code requirements is necessary.

Is there a video taken by divers of the damage?
There is not video from divers.

Was the damage assessment based upon engineering judgement or on physical evidence?Both structural assessment reports were based on physical evidence and engineering judgement.

Have pilings failed above and/or below the water line?
Pilings have failed or have been found structurally deficient above and below the water line.

Are any of the pilings pulled out?
There are indications some piles have unseated.

Is there damage to the wood above the waterline?
Yes, there are locations where there is damage to piles above the waterline.

Can the city pier, as is, currently support the structures already on it or those planned?
The current platform and foundation system is supporting the current structures but based upon structural assessments conducted is not performing as designed.

Are the structures, specifically loadbearing walls, sound and safe?
The load bearing walls of the restaurant and bait shop appear to be functioning adequately. Safety will depend on the stability of the substructure supporting them.

Are the same permits required for repair and replacement?
No.

What kind of emergency permits can be applied for?
Permit applications have been submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Was a cost benefit analysis completed to determine the most cost-effective plan – i.e. wood vs. concrete?
A cost benefit analysis will be conducted regarding the foundation systems considered for support of the structure.

Was a cost benefit analysis completed to determine the most economical plan for public safety?
Public safety is of greatest importance and is a key criterion as to the approach being taken in the assessment of the current structure.

Isn’t wood the ‘best bang for the buck’ in this case?
Not necessarily.