The final phase of a major structural upgrade to the historic Santa Monica Pier will cost about $8 million and require 12 months of construction, according to city officials.
The public works department is working with the contractor, selected Jan. 22 by the City Council, to determine a start date and schedule. The timing is important to business owners who have said they worry construction will deter customers, especially during the busy summer months.
"There will be a point of time where the entire pier deck has gone away," Public Works Director Martin Pastucha told the City Council last week. "We’re looking at trying to expedite construction of this project as quickly as possible."
Called the "Pier Replacement Project," it includes the demolition and reconstruction of a 360-foot wooden section of the pier from the high tide line to the western edge of the concrete pier constructed in the late 1980s. The replacement will be built of concrete and timber stringers.
"Structural analysis has shown that this section of the Pier has a limited capacity to support emergency and commercial delivery vehicles," Pastucha wrote in a report to the City Council.
The council approved a contract with California-based Meek Shea, Joint Venture, to do the work. The contract contains financial penalties—about $240,000 per month—if it takes longer than the 12-month schedule, according to Pastucha.
Chris Volaski, president of the Santa Monica Pier Lessees Association and owner of Santa Monica Pier Bait and Tackle and the Oatman Rock Shop, said tenants have been left in the dark about the timetable.
"There are many tenants that are worried about this phase," she told the council.
Those concerns were echoed by Director of Operations at Pacific Park Dana Wyatt,who said "there are serious concerns about timing, scope and public outreach."
The contractor and city staffers will try to be flexible in finding work hours that would be least likely to impact businesses, including doing it in phases and not on weekends, Pastucha said. But, construction is "going to impact one summer one time or another," he said.