The Avila Beach pier has been closed indefinitely while structural engineers evaluate how much weight it can carry and what repairs need to be made, harbor district manager Steve McGrath said.
The Port San Luis Harbor District closed the pier Friday afternoon.
"In an abundance of caution," McGrath said, the pier was closed while an underwater inspection is completed and the load capacity determined.
Large crowds have been flocking to the pier in recent days as humpback whales have come into the harbor area, delighting viewers and raising the question of the pier’s structural capabilities.
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McGrath said the harbor district has been evaluating the condition of the 1,685-foot pier over the last couple of years and divers began an underwater inspection earlier this year. “There is some deterioration, which is not unexpected with wood living in water,” McGrath said.
A repair plan is being developed and grants being sought for what is estimated could be a $1 million-plus project, he said. The harbor district’s board of directors will be meeting Tuesday night and McGrath said he will have more information to give the board at that time.
The pier was built in 1908 and has been repaired after several storms over the years, including being significantly rebuilt after a partial collapse during severe El Nino storms in 1983. In the early 2000s the first 150 feet of the pier was rebuilt, and last winter the pier was briefly closed to repair damage from large surf.