Due to the imminent state of collapse of the easternmost portion of Crystal Pier, Rod Andrew of Andrew Consulting Engineers said pier owner Monica Watson has decided to move forward with the demolition of the afflicted area. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Andrew said he had just received notice to remove the last two bays.
“They have authorized me to get a contractor out there to remove a couple bays at the end of Crystal Pier,” Andrew said. “That would be about 25 feet and maybe a third bay depending on how bad the damage is at the end.”
On Sunday, Aug. 26, a piling and a few cross bracing beams were ripped from the pier by large surf from Hurricane Isaac. Until that point, Andrew said his firm had been working on plans to renovate the pier.
“We were actually finishing up plans to reinforce it when the storm came through and tore off the far east end,” he said. “Then we had to scramble and we’ve got a contractor lined up to take off the two bays and then hopefully in the next 30 days we will have a contractor ready to go to work to reinforce it again.”
Andrew said he and Watson arrived at the decision to remove the end of the pier before
reinforcing it due to the expenses involved with working on the pier from the water.
“How we had planned to work on the pier was start on the land side and work seaward using the pier superstructure as a way to get to things,” he said. “We can’t do that now and if we fixed the end of the pier we’d have to bring barges in and that would be very, very expensive.”
Intracoastal Contracting, the contractor for the demolition, could not be reached for a comment by the time of publication. Andrew said he did not know exactly how Intracoastal Contracting would complete the work, but that it will require working from a barge. From there, Andrew said they would most likely cut away some of the joists, let the structure fall into the ocean and tow it ashore. The operation is expected to last roughly two weeks.
Wrightsville Beach department of planning and parks director Tony Wilson said an exclusion permit from the Coastal Area Management Act and a demolition permit from the town would be required before the project could begin. Wilson said that both of these permits would be easy to acquire for this project.
Wilson and Andrew said they would like to see the work happen sooner rather than later with another round of storm surf from hurricane Leslie pounding the weakened structure into the beginning of next week.