Anna Maria chooses concrete for new pier pilings

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Jay Saxena of Ayres Associates, the Tampa-based engineering firm in charge of the design and rebuild for the Anna Maria City Pier, reports on the merits of using spun concrete versus composite pilings during the Feb. 14 special meeting of the city commission. Islander Photo: Terry O’Connor

The pilings for the new Anna Maria City Pier will be made of spun-concrete.

Commissioners voted 3-1 Feb. 14 to select spun-concrete pilings over pilings made of a composite material, citing the cheaper cost of spun-concrete.

The price tag for 240 spun-concrete pilings would be about $180,000.

The other option, composite pilings, would cost $250,000-$350,000, depending on whether the pilings are filled with concrete — an additional safety feature.

Commissioner Dale Woodland voted against the selection. He also voiced his desire to revoke his support entirely for the pier rebuild project.

Woodland said the city failed to adequately consider the possibility of rebuilding the pier with wood and he is no longer committed to the decision to build a pier that would last 75-100 years.

Woodland also raised concerns about the cost and time it will take to complete the project.

Jay Saxena, Ayres Associates project leader for the pier design and rebuild, said he expects the design work to be completed by the end of summer, with construction to begin thereafter.

In addition, Saxena said he expects a definitive timeframe on permitting in March from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

After deciding on piling material, the commission moved to evaluating the options for decking.

Saxena presented two options: Epay hardwood, or a Kebony material.

Woodland asked Saxena to also consider Trex, a composite decking material.

However, Saxena cautioned that Trex would be more expensive.

Woodland also asked about timber decking.          Commissioner Doug Copeland said pine decking wouldn’t meet the city’s needs, pointing out the decking installed just before the pier centennial in 2011 and many pine planks already are degraded.

Commissioner Carol Carter said the pine decking used on the Rod & Reel Pier “has weathered terribly.”

The commission gave Saxena instructions to return in March with cost estimates for Epay, Kebony and Trex decking.

Dennis Ellsworth, an Anna Maria resident, asked the city to clarify whether a water-taxi platform would be part of the rebuilt pier.

Murphy said docking is not planned, but the city may consider it in the future.

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