Design work continues on the Oceanside Pier approach deck

One of Oceanside’s oldest and most iconic structures could get a facelift.

The 1927, fenced-in concrete pedestrian bridge from Pacific Street to the Municipal Pier, a favorite seaside resort attraction, is in dire need of updating.

Options for replacing or rehabilitating what is officially referred to as the Pier View Way Bridge, and the lifeguard headquarters below, will be presented to the Oceanside Historic Preservation Advisory Board at its meeting on Tuesday.

The current version of the wooden part of the pier that overlooks the ocean opened in 1987 after a storm destroyed the previous one. The current one is the sixth since the first was built in 1888 at the foot of what is now Wisconsin Avenue.

Extensive maintenance and repairs were carried out on the access bridge and lifeguard quarters from 2016 to 2018. But the work was largely cosmetic and was seen as a “stopper” measure to prevent pieces. concrete from falling on the people below.

Concrete and steel structures are long past their expected lifespan, according to several reports from city staff. Old materials are saturated with salt and seawater, which aggravates corrosion.

“The Pier View Way Bridge… is in need of significant long-term structural improvements,” says a note from Senior Civil Engineer Darra Woods to the Historic Preservation Advisory Board.

A municipal dining room originally occupied the space below the bridge and remained there until 1987 when it closed and the headquarters of the city’s lifeguard division moved in. Today, the lifeguard division has around 90 employees and has passed its offices below the bridge.

Rising sea levels also need to be considered, along with state-mandated disability access and other issues unheard of in the Roaring Twenties.

The question of whether to restore or replace the bridge is a question to be answered as part of ongoing planning. A first community meeting to publicize the project took place in August 2021, and more will be scheduled.

An alternative structure would probably be best, said John Daley, a member of the advisory board and vice-president of the Oceanside Historical Society.

“I like the idea,” Daley said Tuesday. “Essentially it would look alike. There will be some minor changes, but it will look like it was built in 1927. ”

Design studies are also underway as part of a separate effort to renovate the nearby Junior Seau community center, pavilion and amphitheater at the base of the pier. Any changes to these structures should probably be consistent with the appearance of the bridge.

Other city upgrades already underway near the pier include the construction of a new police station, a building for beach maintenance equipment and a public washroom.

The pier access bridge is the oldest of all the structures, but it has not been officially designated as historic. It has been identified as “potentially important” and is considered a historic resource under the California Environmental Quality Act, according to a city report.

Inspections carried out in 2017 determined that the bridge was in poor condition despite the maintenance carried out over the years. In addition, as it was built long before the development of current seismic standards, it does not meet seismic safety requirements.

Yet, due to the distinctive look of the 1920s bridge, some people may be reluctant to replace it. While a new bridge might be designed to look the same, it wouldn’t be the same. Even a restoration of the original pier would require exterior steel and concrete reinforcement of the narrow columns supporting the deck, which would affect its appearance.

The reconstruction would cost less and last longer than the restoration of the original structure, according to initial estimates.

An approximate project schedule foresees the completion of a schematic design as well as a feasibility study and a preferred alternative in spring 2022.

Environmental studies will continue until fall 2023. Construction documents could be completed in spring 2024 and construction could be completed in fall 2026, according to a city report.

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