Back in 2016, Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on Jacksonville and its beaches. The Jacksonville Beach Pier, a town staple, was especially hard hit. For six years, residents have waited to see what would become of the local landmark.
After half of the pier was destroyed from the storms, construction began on its repairs. However, the work hit many delays, including difficulties gathering the money needed from the government and the arrival of the pandemic. In 2019, a $10 million renovation plan was announced. This project was estimated to finish in 2021, but delays in getting permits from the city back in 2020 made completion impossible.
While city officials claimed the previous pier was built to withstand hurricanes, it clearly wasn’t. But this renovation plan, they claim, will protect the pier and keep it standing through many potential storms. The construction on the pier is said to fall within the previous pier’s alignment but will be inches taller and slightly shorter. It’s obvious the reconstruction of the pier took a while, but what is really being done for it to withstand the heavy storms other than its height?
The renovations included the demolition of the old pier, removal of debris on the ocean floor, wood with sturdier panels, new lighting, plumbing and fire protection. Will all this really make our new pier stronger? Well, with it supposedly finishing right before hurricane season starts, it looks like we might get front row seats. When contacted about news on the pier, ETM, the professional services firm overseeing construction engineering and inspection for the project, was unavailable for comment.
According to the Jacksonville Beach official website, fees are still $3 for fishermen, $1 for visitors, and free for children under 6 years old. However, with an updated pier, should we expect updated fees? For now, we just expect the local beloved pier to open this summer and withstand future hurricanes.