SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
The Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department
has fenced off the pier at the county beach until
it can be rebuilt.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH - The fishing pier at Manatee
County Public Beach has been closed following an engineer's
inspection that termed it unsafe to walk on or under.
The pier was a popular spot for anglers and beach visitors,
but the Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department
recently asked that an engineer from ZNS Engineering inspect
"We were concerned with the way it looked, especially
after one of the groins south of there collapsed," said
Tom Yarger, project manager for the parks and recreation
The report by ZNS Assistant Vice President Glenn Warburton
came following a visual inspection on Dec. 19. Warburton
said he took measurements of deflection that has occurred
to deck members and inspected the underside of the structure
where it is accessible from the beach below.
Warburton reported that the reinforcing steel contained
in the majority of the structure is severely corroded
and that excessive deflection has occurred. He said that
large sections of concrete have separated from the main
structure and are being held in place by severely corroded
Warburton recommended that the structure be closed immediately
to pedestrian traffic both on top of the pier and under
"I consider this a severe condition and people, especially
those walking the beach beneath the structure, are subject
to danger from falling chunks of concrete," the report
The county closed it and fenced off the area beneath it
that is accessible to pedestrians the day the report was
Yarger said his department would be in charge of fixing
or replacing the structure.
"The same engineer that looked at it has prepared a work
assignment to study it further and see if it can be repaired
or will have to be replaced," he said. "We will work with
the state agencies that permit it and if it has to be
replaced, it will be the same size in the same location
as the current structure."
The bottom line, he said, is that the pier will be closed
for quite a while until the county can do a thorough job
of fixing the situation.