Pier Repairs Underway Now

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A large portion of the middle of the Historic Malibu Pier has been closed off to foot and vehicle traffic since wave action from Hurricane Marie in August 2014 knocked out several pilings from the pier. Repairs this week are designed to shore-up the pier while plans are underway to replace lost and damaged pilings.

Malibu rejoice: the pier is officially on its way back to being sound, just in time for its face-off with this winter’s predicted El Niño.

Work began Wednesday on much-anticipated repairs to the historic Malibu Pier, portions of which have not been stable since Hurricane Marie knocked out 13 pilings in August 2014, causing a portion of the pier to be blocked off to foot and vehicle traffic, as it was deemed structurally unsound.

State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap spoke to The Malibu Times on Tuesday about the work that began this week.

“They’re going to start; there’s actually going to be a crane out today, and starting tomorrow they’re going to be starting work on the midsection of the pier,” Sap described. “This is lasting three days.”

The buildings at the far end of the pier, including the Malibu Farm Cafe, are expected to be closed for the three days of work, Sap said, which will only run from Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 4-6.

“People can still go to the pier, but we’re anticipating they won’t have access to the end of the pier,” Sap explained.

The project, which eventually will include replacement of an estimated 59 pier pilings that have been damaged or knocked loose from the pier in recent years, begins with strengthening of existing pilings.

“This is really just the shoring-up part of the project,” Sap said. “The pilings probably won’t be available until the end of December [or] first part of January.

“They’re going to be primarily focused on the emergency work, and that’s going to be making sure the pier is substantially strong enough to deal with swell events to protect from El Niño.”

The project, which was approved in the state budget signed by Governor Jerry Brown in July, allocated $4.6 million for repairs to the 80-year-old pier, including the new pilings and refurbishment of the access stairway located at the end of the pier, which suffered heavy damage from Hurricane Marie.

On Sept. 28, Sap spoke to the Malibu City Council and announced the project, which he projected would begin in mid-November, meaning the Nov. 4 start date is pushing the repairs ahead of schedule.

Pier concessionaire and former Malibu Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner, said that State Parks has been good about keeping him and other stakeholders in the loop about the upcoming projects, but he had not been able to see the full scope of work for this portion of the project as of Tuesday evening.

“I’m going to go out tomorrow and see what the scope of work is and what the engineers are going to do,” Wagner said. 

The work this week will help to strengthen the pier so that it can hold the weight of a pile-driver when the time comes for piling replacement at the end of 2015.