Commission chooses concrete pier pilings

AMI Pier Pilings
Ayres Associates Vice President Jay Saxena presented the commission with two piling options Wednesday afternoon: a concrete piling on the left and a brown composite piling on the right. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

Updated Feb. 15, 2018

ANNA MARIA – The new Anna Maria City Pier will be built with concrete pilings.

In March, the Anna Maria City Commission will decide if the pier will be feature hardwood decking or composite decking.

The decision to go with concrete pilings was by a 3-1 vote at the commission’s special pier meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Commissioner Dale Woodland did not support either of the piling options that Ayres Associates Vice President Jay Saxena presented. Even though it is no longer an option, Woodland still supports the wooden pilings the design firm said last month would only provide for a pier with an estimated 25-year service life.

Pier Piling Woodland
Commissioner Dale Woodland opposes the use of concrete or composite piling to build a new pier. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

During Wednesday’s meeting, Woodland said he made a mistake in October when he joined the other commissioners in unanimously voting in favor of building a pier with non-wood pilings in order to build a pier designed to last 75 to 100 years. Woodland withdrew his support for that initial pier construction decision and said he would probably continue to oppose the commission’s pier material choices as the process continues.

Pier pilings

Saxena told the commission a combination of 230 10-inch and 12-inch diameter, 50-foot long composite pilings, which could be color-tinted, would cost an estimated $250,000. The hollow composite pilings could also be filled with concrete to provide additional load bearing support for an additional $99,440, bringing the total estimated cost to $349,440.

Saxena said 240 10-inch diameter, 50-foot long, gray, concrete spun pilings would cost an estimated $180,000.

In response to a question from Commissioner Carol Carter, Saxena said an individual piling could be replaced if it failed in the future. The failing piling could also be left in place if the surrounding pilings were sufficiently bearing the additional weight.

After further discussion, Carter made the motion the go with the less-costly concrete pilings. Commissioner Doug Copeland said he preferred the aesthetics of the composite pilings but he supported the concrete option for its cost benefits. Commissioner Brian Seymour also supported concrete pilings.

Decking options

After the piling decision was made, Saxena presented Mayor Dan Murphy and the commission with two potential hardwood decking options: Epay and Kebony.

Woodland asked why wood timbers and Trex decking were not included in those options.

“I don’t think pressure-treated pine meets our criteria.”
Doug Copeland, City Commissioner

Saxena said Ayres could provide cost estimates on the additional decking materials if that was the commission’s desire.

Copeland said the existing pier was essentially re-decked prior to the pier centennial in 2011 and less than 10 years later many of those pine planks were already failing.

“I don’t think pressure-treated pine meets our criteria. I don’t know if it’s worth the time for Jay to investigate it,” he said.

Referencing the wooden planks on the privately owned Rod & Reel Pier, Carter said, “Those planks are newer than the City Pier planks and they have weathered terribly.”

Saxena said wood decking would not perform to the commission’s desired service life standards.

Saxena did not provide estimated costs on the hardwood decking materials. The commission directed him to provide a cost and performance analysis for the Epay, Kebony and Trex decking options at the commission’s next pier meeting in March.

AMI Pier Wood Deck
Next month, the commission will decide what type of decking to place atop the concrete pier pilings. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Regarding permitting, Saxena said the Army Corps of Engineers was gathering additional permitting insight from the National Marine Fisheries Service and other agencies. He expects to have a better idea on the permitting status in mid-March. He said the current lack of permitting was not impeding the design process.

Saxena said the commission would be provided with preliminary renderings of the proposed pier at the March meeting. He also said Ayres expected to complete the design process and enter into the construction phase by late summer, and 50 percent design drawings would be provided before then.

During public input, Anna Maria resident Dennis Ellsworth asked if the pier design includes dockage for a water taxi. Mayor Dan Murphy said it does not currently, but that could be an add-on item later.

Holmes Beach resident Mike Deal asked why the commission and design team were discussing the potential replacement of a piling when discussing a pier that is supposed to last 75 to 100 years.