Survey: AM pier needs major overhaul

Since 1911, the Anna Maria City Pier has stood in Tampa Bay at the east end of Pine Avenue. It’s been damaged and repaired multiple times.

But the pier may face its toughest challenge in 2016. According to an extensive survey by Bridge Design Associates of Clearwater, the pier may have five more years before collapse is inevitable.

The survey, done in July, was delivered to Anna Maria City Hall at the end of January. At 75 pages, the divers and engineers from the Bridge Design team covered the pier from top to bottom, under the bay waters and above the surface.

They estimate the cost to repair the pier and extend its life is $1.4 million-$2.8 million.

If the pier is only rehabbed, the cost is estimated at $1.4 million-$1.7 million. It will extend its life 20-25 years.

If the pier is replaced and rebuilt, the price tag rises to $2.3 million-$2.8 million, but the result would be 50-75 years of service.

Neither estimate includes repairing or replacing the buildings at the T-end of the pier.

Either way, the pier would be closed up to a year to complete the work.

The survey includes many examples of pylons and stringers that are “no longer supporting the deck.”

The survey also points out a section where the pier meets the T-end near the restrooms that bobs up and down 2-3 inches when walked upon.

During one part of its work in July, the survey team noted that several of the top planks came loose when the boat was knocked against the pier. “It lifted the northwest corner of the deck structure 8-10 inches off the supporting stringers,” the engineers wrote in the survey.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy said, “The city is in an evaluation phase until we have a clearer understanding of the situation.”

Murphy said he wants to meet with city commissioners, Manatee County representatives and the engineer who led the survey before making any decisions.

Murphy is scheduled to meet with the engineer Feb. 12. He said he wants to discuss other options that would extend the life of the pier.

The city has $13,400 in its pier contingency fund for fiscal 2015-16.

City Pier Restaurant general manager Dave Sork met with Murphy Feb. 3. Sork said he had to see what his owner, Mario Schoenfelder, has to say. Schoenfelder lives in Germany and Sork said he mailed a copy of the survey to him Feb. 3.

According to the lease agreement between Schoenfelder and the city, the tenant is responsible for any damage and all repairs to the pier.

The lease requires the tenant maintain a $2 million general liability and property insurance policy that names the city as also insured, but it covers only personal injuries, death and property damage.


Survey condition comments

• Decking is deteriorated and in poor condition.

• A number of stringers are not transferring loads and not supporting the deck.

• Repairs over the years have left the support structure in inconsistent condition.

• Support beams are secured to piles with only one bolt.

• Several utility wires and pipes under the pier are disconnected or hanging loose. The survey team couldn’t determine what was working and what was not functional.

• Parts of the deck bounce with movement by people.

• Many of the piles are not properly connected in order to safely receive the pier’s load.