Deteriorating Ocean Beach Pier to Close Through Storm Season for Safety

Ocean Beach Pier. Photo by Chris Stone
Ocean Beach Pier. Photo by Chris Stone

The city of San Diego announced Wednesday that it will keep the Ocean Beach Pier closed through the early part of 2024 as a result of recent damage and with the potential for additional structural impairment from the upcoming storm season.

San Diego Lifeguards closed the pier Monday as a precaution during high surf conditions, said city spokesman José Ysea.

“While it was closed, the pier incurred surface damage and has remained closed since,” Ysea said. “Once the storm season has passed, the city will reassess and determine the next steps for the iconic 57-year-old pier.”

In 2019, the pier was damaged in January and was closed until May. City staff repaired damage to the railings and utilities for an estimated cost of $430,000. :

In January 2021, the pier was damaged again and was closed until that July. A contractor repaired structural issues while city staff repaired damage to the railings for an estimated cost of nearly $1 million, Ysea said.

In January this year, the pier was damaged again and was closed until early July. City staff repaired damage to the railings and buildings for an estimated cost of $230,000. The most recent repairs provided less than four months of access before the pier suffered additional damage.

“Over the past five years, the city has spent approximately $1.7 million to repair the pier, not including the cost of staff time and additional resources, and it has been closed to the public approximately 30% of the time due to damage,” Ysea said.

“The cycle of damage and repairs for the Ocean Beach Pier has been an increasing challenge in recent years and one that we cannot prevent,” said City Engineer Rania Amen, Director of the Engineering and Capital Projects Department. “Our teams will monitor the situation throughout the storm season and be ready to fully assess the structure, both above and below the water, once it is appropriate.”

As a result of the repeated repairs in recent years and a 2018 study that determined the pier has reached the end of its service life, the city has launched the Ocean Beach Pier Renewal project, which aims to provide a long- term solution for the pier, likely through a replacement.

“The extended closure of the iconic Ocean Beach Pier further highlights the need to potentially replace the current structure,” said Strategic Capital Projects Assistant Director Elif Cetin. “We have spent months collaborating with San Diegans about what they would like to see if the current pier is replaced and we are excited to share that preferred design with the community in 2024.”

The project is in the preliminary engineering and planning phase and still needs to go through additional review, including California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act permitting, other regional agency permitting, design and construction.

After the preferred design concept is completed, a detailed project schedule and cost estimate will be prepared. Currently, $8.4 million in state funding is designated for the project, and the city will pursue other state and federal grants.

–City News Service