City to seek proposals for pier construction management

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At 1,835 feet, the Seal Beach Pier is one of the longest piers in the state. Photo by Dave Smithson

The Seal Beach City Council this week approved a staff-prepard request for proposals for management of pier improvements. That means the city will be looking for a business to manage the construction project to repair the iconic pier 1,835 foot-long wooden pier. Staff expects the pier project to be complete in 2019.

Staff expects to bring cost estimates for the project to the council by March 12.

According to Associate Engineer David Spitz, staff expects to award the construction contract in May 2018 and begin construction after Labor Day.

“We have a nine-month window for construction,” Spitz said. According to Spitz, the California Coastal Commission will not allow construction in the coastal zone during the summer months.

District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt expressed sympathy for the public’s frustration with the length of time the project has taken.

“People ask us all the time, ‘When are you going to get started on the pier,’” she said.

The current city budget includes $3.7 million for the project.

In addition to repairing the end of the pier so it would be strong enough to support a building (if one should be built), the repair project will include damaged utility lines, decking and handrails.

According to a staff report prepaired by Associate Engineer David Spitz, a project of this size requires a construction management firm with experience in running city property improvements with an emphasis on coastal construction.

Spitz told the council that the project would be complex.

According to the Spitz report, the final design of the pier utility upgrade is underway. The Spitz report also said staff will bring plans and specificcations for repairing the pier to the council on March 12.

“If approved, staff will advertise for bids and award a construction contract in the spring of 2018,” the report said.

Actual construction will  start in the fall of 2018 because the California Coastal Commission “does not allow construction from Memorial Day through Labor Day,” the report said.

In August 2017, several agencies issued tentative approvals for the pier repair project: The Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a draft certification for the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent the city a provisional letter of permission in August 2017. The Army will issue a permit after the city gets the coastal permit.

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 the 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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