After more than four months closed, the popular Ocean Beach Pier reopen Friday to a swarming crowd just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.
The pier underwent about $309,000-worth of repairs and upgrades after high surf from a winter storm in mid-January ripped off a portion of the railing, forcing the nearly 2,000-foot-long pier to close.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and members of the San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards, the Public Works Department and the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association were on hand to officially reopen the pier on Friday.
Eager crowds were waiting to walk through the iron gate that has for months blocked pedestrians from accessing the pier.
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"We're very excited. We came down here early so we could see the opening," Ocean Beach resident Jeri Gonzalez said. "My kids have fished off the pier when they were small. It's a big deal. It's important to the community. It's important to my family."
On Jan. 18, ten to 12-foot King Tide waves tore a chunk of the pier's railing off and damaged the wood paneling.
A series of storms that followed prevented crews from quickly assessing the pier's damage. Weeks later, there was still no time frame for when the pier, which is frequented by about a half-million people each year, would reopen.
Once the assessment was completed, though, the city of San Diego's staff determined they needed to replace 2,200 feet of railing and fix electric, water and sewer lines.
The repairs, which began in March, were estimated to cost $430,000 and were completed with about a quarter of the budget remaining, the city said. The funding came from city's budget.
The pier was also scheduled to undergo a long-term assessment by a structural engineering firm to determine how to rehabilitate the pier, according to City of San Diego Deputy Chief Operating Officer Johnnie Perkins.
The city said in March they would analyze the results once completed and consider launching a rehabilitation project for the pier.
At more than 1,970 feet, the Ocean Beach pier, which opened in 1966, is the second longest on the West Coast and the longest concrete pier in the world.