New Anna Maria City Pier taking shape

New Anna Maria City Pier taking shape
The crew from i+iconSoutheast was hard at work Monday morning driving the pilings that will support the new pier. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The first pilings for the new Anna Maria City Pier are in place and partially driven as of Saturday.

The pilings eventually will support a restaurant, bait shop and public restrooms at the end of the new pier.

On Monday, i+iconSoutheast General Superintendent Larry Thornton and Project Director Paul Johnson took Mayor Dan Murphy and City Commissioners Brian Seymour and Carol Carter on separate tours of the worksite, accompanied by various media members.

“It’s looking good. I’m pleased with the progress.” – Dan Murphy, Anna Maria Mayor

Thornton said the pier project will require 202 50-foot concrete pilings. The pierhead (also known as the T-end) decking and buildings will sit atop 14-inch diameter pilings. The primary pier walkway will sit atop 12-inch diameter pilings.

Starting in water about 10 feet deep at the far end of the pier, all pilings will be driven at least 30 feet into the sand and clay below.

New Anna Maria City Pier taking shape
I+iconSoutheast superintendent Roberto Matos uses a level to ensure the piling is going in straight. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The pilings are first lowered into a steel template. Once a piling is set in place, a jet pump is turned on and the water pumped through those pipes forces the sand out and creates space for the piling.

A crane-mounted diesel hammer is then used to drive the pilings the rest of the way through the harder clay below.

As the water gets shallower, the pilings will be driven deeper. The concrete pilings will be trimmed at the top to create the level surface for the precast, concrete platform that will serve as the base for the Ipe hardwood decking.

The pilings must be precisely located within 2 inches of their predetermined locations so they line up with the precast platform sections.

Johnson said the first pilings were delivered by barge from Port Manatee. The rest are expected to be delivered in a similar manner and no concrete pilings are expected to pass through the city on a tractor-trailer.

“We are trying to minimize the amount of the material that comes in through the city,” Johnson said.

“I think that’s a great decision,” Carter added.

New Anna Maria City Pier taking shape
City Commissioner Carol Carter visited the pier worksite by boat Monday morning. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Johnson said the hardwood decking will be trucked to the onshore staging area near the foot of the pier. According to Murphy, those deliveries are supposed to take place between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. whenever possible to minimize any impact on daytime traffic.

Thornton commended city officials for choosing concrete pilings over wood pilings because they resist the waterborne worms that feed on wood pilings.

After returning from his Monday afternoon boat tour, Murphy said, “It’s looking good. I’m pleased with the progress. On a good day, they can drive at least seven or eight pilings per day, so we’re making progress and that’s good news.”

The mayor said he spotted 14 pilings in the water during his boat tour.

Murphy recently predicted the pier construction site would become a point of interest for visitors and residents and that’s coming to fruition.

“I was down there Saturday and Sunday. It’s attracting people and that’s good. I think the more piles we drive, the more people it’s going to attract,” he said.

The city of Anna Maria’s contract with i+iconSoutheast requires the pier platform and decking to be completed by Aug. 26.

The city will issue a separate request for proposals seeking bids for the construction of the city-owned restaurant, bait shop and restroom spaces at the pier’s T-end.

The pier and pier buildings are expected to be opened to the public by year’s end.

New Anna Maria City Pier taking shape
The foot of the pier provides a good view of the work taking place. – Joe Hendricks | Sun