The city of Berkeley, California has closed its historic fishing pier due to structural damage.
While looking into a proposal to make repairs to make the Berkeley Pier more wheelchair friendly, damage to the concrete decking and support system was discovered.
“Certainly the pier is one of the legacies of Berkeley’s recreational resources,” said Jim McGrath, commissioner of the Parks and Waterfront Commission. “I’m certainly concerned about it. We have to figure out what’s going on first, and see how that fits within other measures.”
The damage was discovered before July 4th festivities, and vehicular access to the pier was closed at that time. All access to the pier was banned on July 23.
The last time that concrete damage was repaired in the pier was in 1984, according to the city.
The closure has affected anglers who use the pier to catch halibut, striper and other species of fish. Local businesses have also felt the closure, which has reduced the number of customers for businesses from bait shops to food trucks.
According to historical marker at the site, “The pier accommodated ferries that carried cars across San Francisco Bay. After big events in Berkeley, such as football games at the University of California, hundreds of cars would back up for hours waiting to board the ferry for the trip back to San Francisco. After the Bay Bridge was completed and opened to automobile traffic in 1936 the pier was converted to recreational use, including fishing.”
The city has no immediate plans to repair the pier and has struggled to find funding for its parks and recreation facilities. However, council members are waiting to find out the results of a structural analysis to see how funds can be raised.