Avila Beach pier reopens after being damaged during storm

clambert@thetribunenews.comMarch 10, 2014 

The pier in downtown Avila Beach reopened Friday, but four areas will remain fenced off to the public in the near future out of “an abundance of caution,” harbor district officials said, because several pilings broke off the pier during recent storms.

The pilings will be replaced after Port San Luis Harbor officials conduct a survey of the entire structure and determine if any other repairs need to be made.

“The pier is 30 years old, and some of the pilings are showing their age,” Harbor Manager Steve McGrath said.

The pier remains open to pedestrians, he said, adding, “If there was any reason for any concern, we would close the pier.”

The present-day Avila Beach pier was originally constructed in 1908 by San Luis Obispo County, but it was repaired after several storms, including in 1983, when one of the strongest El Niño events in California history hammered the coastline and caused a portion of the piers in Avila Beach and Pismo Beach to collapse.

Strong waves lashed at the structure over the first weekend in March. The Avila Beach pier lost five pilings, out of more than 1,200. The pier is 1,685 feet long.

“They broke at some point and detached from the pier and ended up on the beach,” McGrath said.

To date, he estimated repairs have cost about $20,000, not including the cost to replace the pilings.

The amount does include his employees’ staff time replacing deck boards that came loose when waves battered the bottom of the pier.

Other repairs included fixing an electrical conduit that had pulled apart, and repairs to a coupling holding together sections of a steel pipe that transports water to the end of the pier.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.

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