Farewell, Frisco Pier: Removal project to be completed by May: The project to remove the iconic and battered Frisco Pier has encountered complications with the discoveries that asbestos was in the pier house floor panels and that approximately 140 of the 263 pilings from the pier were submerged under water.
But at a Dec. 11 press briefing, representatives from the National Park Service (NPS) and DOT Construction said the nearly $500,000 project is currently on track to be completed by early May, in time for sea turtle nesting season.
DOT Project Superintendent Eric Anderson said it’s a project that “hits close to home. I’ve been fishing and surfing at the pier since 1979 or ’80.” He added that it’s better for people to keep their memories of the pier in its prime, rather than as a wreck that’s fallen into “such disrepair” that it’s a safety hazard. “She will be missed,” he said.
Built in 1960, the pier was originally 20 feet wide by 600 feet long. After being blasted by numerous storms, the damage caused by Hurricane Earl in 2010 was so severe that the pier and pier house were deemed unusable. The pier was closed to the public and has not reopened. Structural failures have followed and a public safety hazard was created by falling debris, which includes large timbers with rusted lag bolts and nails.
Speaking at the press briefing, NPS Outer Banks Group Superintendent David Hallac said that, with less than 40% of the original pier remaining in three main pieces, the estimated $2 million cost of repairing the pier was prohibitive.
NPS Chief of Facilities Management John Kowlok emphasized that the removal of the pier is primarily intended to address safety issues. “There doesn’t even need to be another major storm for more pieces to fall off,” he added.
DOT Construction hired Carolina Lead Abatement Inc, a subcontracting certified asbestos abatement company, to safely remove the asbestos, which was completed last week and given the green light by a final inspection on Dec. 8. Next comes the dismantling of the pier house, with all the materials transferred offsite in trucks and dumpsters to a landfill.
Following this is the removal of the pier’s pilings. With the majority of the pilings submerged, DOT Construction had to hire another subcontractor, Cape Dredging, which will provide the divers needed for this phase of the project. The divers will beach launch a barge daily and use high pressure water jetting equipment to loosen the underwater pilings before removing them with a crane
The need for divers potentially opens the project to delays, said Anderson, explaining that the divers’ work will be “dependent on good weather,” with the current and waves as key factors. The final phase of the project will be a thorough clean-up of the site.
While details have not been finalized and no contract has yet been awarded for follow-up work at the site, tentative plans call for restoration of the access road and parking lot, with the addition of restroom facilities, as the site becomes a public beach access and day use area.
Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 9:00 pm
BY NEEL KELLER | SENTINEL STAFF | 0 comments