San Diego County

Ocean Beach Pier Partially Reopens Friday

Public access will be allowed up to the bait shop and café and only emergency vehicles will be allowed when necessary

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After recent repairs, Council President Jennifer Campbell and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced the Ocean Beach Pier would partially reopen to the public on Friday.

Officials said city engineers and maintenance crews have made immediate repairs to make a portion of the pier safe for public access while a longer-term strategy is developed for the future of the pier.

The Ocean Beach Pier is set to partially reopen on May 28, but what about the future of the pier? NBC 7's Nicole Gomez reports.

“Although the pier will only be partially reopened, I look forward to working with Mayor Gloria and the community to create a path forward for a long-term solution," said Council President Campbell.

Public access will be allowed up to the bait shop and café and only emergency vehicles will be allowed when necessary. The pier will also close during high tides.

In January, the pier was closed due to major damage suffered during winter storms and required the replacement of several railings along the pier. Service lines to the cafe and the partial reopening have been deemed safe for public use, Campbell said in a statement.

Photos: ‘Hammered': Big Surf Damages OB Pier Again

In April, a damage report of the OB pier was released and detailed damages the pier had sustained. The 364-page report written by Moffatt & Nichol, at a taxpayer expense of close to $700,000, found three options going forward.

  • First and cheapest is repairing existing damage, amounting to $8 million. This will essentially kick the issue down the road. The 55-year-old structure will continue to crumble and degrade, necessitating more expensive repairs in the future
  • Second, the city could rehabilitate the pier for somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million to $50 million, which would increase service life but "would not address the sea level rise vulnerability," the report said
  • Lastly, and most expensively, the city could tear it down and build a new one. This would run anywhere from $40 million to $60 million but have a service life of 75 years or more

"I am committed to finding a long-term solution and plan to establish a working group involving our local, state and federal partners, community groups, private sector and nonprofits to find the best path forward for the OB Pier, our historic city landmark,'' Campbell said.

Campbell is convening a community working group that will provide the community with a consistent forum to provide input on the future of the pier. In the coming weeks, the council president will also be hosting a community forum alongside city engineers and department staff to discuss the most recent damage and repairs made. 

On Wednesday, the OB Town Council met to discuss the pier's future, and all were in agreement that tearing it down without replacing it would be a huge loss.

"I think that would be a terrible loss, not only to Ocean Beach but to the city and the county," OB Town Council president Mark Winkie said.

“The news that the Ocean Beach Pier will be partially reopened on Friday is great news for everyone who loves this iconic San Diego landmark,” Mayor Todd Gloria said in a statement Wednesday. “I look forward to working with Council President Campbell and the community on a plan to fully reopen the pier.”

Gloria joined in on the town council meeting Wednesday evening with a frank assessment of what it'll take to keep the pier around for decades to come.

“The full addressing of the needs of the OB Pier are extremely expensive and will take a significant lift to find the funds to do this,” Gloria said.

The mayor said his office has already requested federal and state funding to help pay for a permanent solution.

San Diego's Piers

The Ocean Beach Pier was first built by structural engineer Ralph Teyssler’s father, Leonard, in 1966. At 1,971 feet in length, it’s the longest concrete pier on the West Coast and, by estimates from structural engineers, it is nearing the end of its service life.

Ralph Teyssler joined Wednesday’s city council meeting, where he shared old photos of the original design plans for the pier. He recommended continued repairs to the OB Pier, while planning for a rebuilding of it.

If the OB Pier is rebuilt or replaced, it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened in San Diego. The coastal county is home to many other piers that have also had facelifts over the decades.

Scripps Pier in La Jolla was originally built in 1915 but replaced in 1988.

The IB Pier was first built in 1909 and then rebuilt in 1960 and again in 1988.

The Oceanside Pier was first built in 1888 and, since then, there have been six versions of it, with the latest in 1987.

Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach was originally built in 1926 and has been family-owned and operated since 1961.

At this point, barring any damaging, high surf, the OB Pier is expected to remain open through winter.

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