Vol 7 No. 15 - January 3, 2007

County pier closed after inspection


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 it.
"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 department.

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 reinforcing steel.

Warburton recommended that the structure be closed immediately to pedestrian traffic both on top of the pier and under it.

"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 concluded.

The county closed it and fenced off the area beneath it that is accessible to pedestrians the day the report was received.

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.


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