Pismo Beach

Pismo Pier Construction Goes to Bid

The Pismo Beach City Council took steps to move forward with advertising bids for construction work on the pier following the results of a 2015 inspection.
The pier was originally constructed in 1924, but was reconstructed after powerful storms knocked much of it down in 1983.

The pier, which is approximately 1,200 feet in overall length and varies in width from approximately 32 feet to more than 182 feet, includes cantilevered fishing decks, four widened diamond pop outs, and one tapered section. In addition to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, the pier supports electrical utility conduit, water and sewer piping, and a bait shack.

In an earlier interview, Fine said the pier is big draw for tourists and locals alike. An electronic counter tracks the number of people who walk out on the pier daily. In 2014 a conservative estimate showed more than 800,000 people used the pier.

The scope of the overall planned project includes removal and replacement of the wooden piles, cap beams, stringers, decking, and guardrail; cleaning and recoating the existing steel piles and cap beams with corrosion protection; updating the fire protection and electrical system; installing new public amenities such as benches, picnic tables, streetlights, fish cleaning stations, trash cans, and drinking fountains; and repair of the concrete cap along the Promenade seawall.

The project will be broken into four different components and the city will determine what all they can afford after bids are received. Currently, $2.9 million is available from the general fund for fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 and based on the current climate, the project could come with a price tag in the range of $3.5 million to $4.5 million. One percent of the project costs will go to public art.

“The construction environment has changed drastically,” said Public Works Director Ben Fine. “There is a very high demand right now for improvements to marine type structures including marinas, harbors, jetties and piers—all of which are done by the same type of contractors and consulting firms that will do our project. One of the effects we’ve seen from this in an increase in lead-time. In just as little as a month ago, the expected lead-time for materials was six to 8 weeks. Lead-times now are four to six months.”

Along with that and the improved economy, prices have also gone up. To help mitigate that, city staff developed a fundraising plan that includes selling the old timbers and offering sponsorship opportunities of amenities such as the light poles and the water fountain.

In March, the council awarded a professional services agreement to Shoreline Engineering, Inc. to evaluate, perform geophysical investigations, and prepare plans and technical specifications for the rehabilitation work on the portions of the Pier that have exhibited degradation from exposure to the marine environment. The inspection concluded that work needed to be done in the areas between the second and third diamonds.

Bids are due by the first week of December and the project would be awarded on December 20. Work would begin in April and is expected to take six to eight weeks. The timeframe could run into some annual events that the pier plays an important role in such as the car show. Because the demand is so high right now for this type of construction, the city has to be ready to move when the opportunity is available.

“We have looked at other things we can do to accommodate our events at different locations if we need to do that,” said Fine.

A pier inspection was done in 2009 and was followed by a maintenance/repair project the following year that consisted of some decking replacement, railing gusset strengthening, new piling installation, shimming existing pilings and replacing additional decking and railing.

There are 31 piers in California, 29 are in the ocean and the remainder are in bays. Of the ocean piers, 20 are made of wood and nine of concrete. Pismo’s pier is the eighteenth longest in the state. 

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