City greenlights $4.3 million pier project

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An aerial view of the Seal Beach Pier. Photo courtesy of the city of Seal Beach

This week the City Council unanimously approved plans for repairing the Seal Beach Pier. The project will now go out for bids, which are due on May 1, not quite two years after a fire damaged the end of the pier.

As previously reported, the repair project will include repairing utility lines, decking, handrails and making the end of the pier strong enough to support a one-story building. The plans are available for review at the Public Works Department

Monday night, Associate Engineer David Spitz told the council that the pier improvements would include galvanized aluminum pole handrails and refurbishing all lighting on the pier.

The cost estimate for the project is almost $4.3 million, according to the March 12 staff report prepared by Spitz.

Spitz said staff was still moving in the direction of being able to have a one-story building on the pier.

The current city budget for the project is slightly more than $3.7 million.

The day after the meeting, Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos said in an email that the insurance would pay “100% of the of the determined fire related costs” of repairing the pier.”

He said, “Staff is continuing to negotiate with the insurance company on specific fire related damage costs.”

According to City Treasurer/Finance Director Victoria Beatley,  the final details need to be worked out. According to Beatley, the plans approved this week will be sent out for bids that will help to identify project costs.

The Spitz report also said insurance  has paid for the costs of designing structural and utility repairs, assessing damage from the May 2016 pier fire and demolition work on the pier.  Before the pier fire, the city was looking at a variety of options for the pier, all of which would have had to include state-mandated upgrades.

As previously reported, staff expects the pier project to be complete in 2019.

“Certain portions of the final construction, construction management, inspection and engineer support services will also be paid for by the insurance company, when those exact dollar amounts, and not just estimates, are known,” the report said.

“The current budget amount is anticipated to be sufficient to cover the costs for the city’s portion of the final design work, construction and construction management services,” the report said.

Repairs on the pier will take place in the fall, as the California Coastal Commission reportedly does not allow construction in the Coastal Zone from late May to early September.

The end of the pier has been closed, off and on, since Ruby’s Diner closed up in January 2013. The pier then sustained damage from waves caused by a hurricane off the Mexican coast in late August 2014.

Then a long-abandoned  former bait shop at the end of the pier caught fire, ultimately destroying both the former bait shack and the neighboring former Ruby’s building in May 2016.

The Orange County Fire Authority determined the fire was an electrical fire caused by live wiring in the former bait shop. The buildings at the end of the pier were torn down and that part of the pier closed off.

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