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Date of Issue: December 16, 2009

State authorizes pier repair work

The Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach was open last week, but the ramp to the day dock remained closed due to storm damage.
Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection gave Bradenton Beach the OK needed to move ahead with fixing the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

“The city has received authorization from the district office of FDEP to stabilize the landing at the day dock, replace two damaged concrete pilings and install two permanent pilings under the landing of the day dock,” said city building official Steve Gilbert.

The pier was temporarily closed earlier this month following a storm that brought little rain, but heavy winds to Anna Maria Island.

Strong wave action associated with the Dec. 2 storm damaged the pier. A cantilever connecting the day dock to the ramp twisted, which tilted the ramp and cracked two concrete pilings.

“It didn’t seem like much of a storm to me,” said frequent pier fisher Bob Naylor of Cortez. “But I came out here to the pier the next morning and it was blocked off. No fishing.”

The city temporarily closed the boardwalk, but did not close Rotten Ralph’s restaurant at the entrance to the pier.

The city reopened the pier Dec. 4, but kept the ramp to the day dock closed.

City officials, in consultation with dock builders, decided that a temporary fix — estimated to cost $1,000 — would involve installing two 16-inch wood pilings and removing the cantilever and the concrete material.

Last week, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection authorized repairs.

“DEP issued the authorization for the work to repair some pilings and install additional pilings to repair the pier through a deminimus exemption — minimal potential for adverse environmental impacts,” said Doug Tobin, an external affairs manager with the DEP.

Tobin added,  “The city does not need any further authorization from the department as long as the work is within the scope of what they told us they were going to do.”

The pier, a major attraction on the Island, reopened in September 2007 after a $2.2 million renovation. The pier had suffered structural damage during the 2004 hurricane season.