An $8.2 million contract to demolish and rebuild a portion of the Santa Monica Pier was unanimously approved Jan. 22 by the City Council. A recent assessment study of Santa Monica’s most iconic structure indicated it is deteriorating.
In all, a 360-foot by 36-foot portion of the Pier, or 12,960 total square feet, will be demolished and then reconstructed over an eight-month period, according to City Hall’s plans. Construction might start as early as March and be completed in early 2014.
However, construction may be delayed to accommodate the surge in summer vacationers to the immediate area, though 2014’s summer vacationers would be affected by the tail end of the project.
It is the first time since 2007 that significant upgrades are being made to the pier. There were three phases of upgrades approved by the council between 2004 and 2007.
According to Martin Pastucha, Santa Monica’s public works director, the contractor has 240 days to complete construction. As an incentive to finish on time, the contractor would be fined $6,000 daily for each additional day of construction beyond the prescribed 240 days, or as much as $180,000 per month out of the contractor’s pocket for unapproved or unwarranted delays.
“We’re looking to expedite the construction of this project as quickly as possible,” Pastucha told Council members. “We understand there are impacts to the tenants and we are very concerned about the impacts.”
City Hall has indicated it will maintain an ongoing discussion with Pier businesses in order to minimize the impacts of construction as much as possible.
Pastucha added adjustments would be made to the construction area that would allow visitors to still frequent the pier. Further, advance notification of construction areas will conspicuously be provided to all visitors.
No work would be done on weekends and holidays, Pastucha said.
“The Santa Monica Municipal Pier Replacement Project consists of complete demolition and reconstruction of a 360-foot long by 36-foot wide section of the Municipal Pier from the high tide line to the westerly concrete pier constructed in the late 1980s,” City staff stated. “Constructed in the 1920s, this section of the Pier consists of timber construction and is nearing the end of its useful life. A Pier infrastructure assessment study concluded that this section is in need of complete replacement.”
A major concern: this same portion of the Pier has a limited capacity to support emergency and commercial delivery vehicles, something that is expected to be addressed in the reconstruction.
The updated Pier will consist of concrete piles, concrete pile caps, timber stringers, and timber decking.
Once completed, City staff anticipates the newer Pier will be “highly durable.”
California-based Meek Shea, Joint Venture was awarded the contract. The group had previously worked on projects for the Port of San Diego, United States Navy, and Ventura Harbor Dept.
This contract is part of the fourth and final phase of a capital improvement program that began in 2004. In the first phase, a structural upgrade of the pier was completed to allow for beach access via stairway from the westerly edge of the Pier Bridge.
The second phase, which included repair to the catwalk and emergency chute, among other upgrades, was completed in fall 2005.
The third phase saw additional upgrades to the pier’s structure and was completed in spring 2007.