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Yacht Club pier rebuild gets first nod

New structure may be raised higher above the river

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | May 9, 2024

Hurricane Ian, a near Category-5 hurricane that made landfall on Cayo Costa on Sept. 28, damaged much of the park’s facilities including the pier which was a near total loss, as was the playground and nearby structures, including the restrooms. FILE/VALARIE HARRING

It could take as long as three years but the Cape Coral Yacht Club may get a new, higher pier to replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Ian.

Cape Coral City Council on Wednesday agreed that removing the existing piles to allow the new pier to raised was the best option.

Meanwhile, Council also discussed the possibility of a temporary, shorter, pier for the community.

The consensus was reached following a presentation by Capital Improvements interim Director David Hyyti.

Hyyti said Kimley Horne did a visual and underwater inspection of the pier pilings and came back to the city with a report. From that report, a more in-depth investigation was done to explore the conditions of the jackets on the pilings and different recommendations on how to proceed.

One of those options — go back and take the existing piles that were damaged, as well as the ones deconstructed, and put new jackets on them, to include 24 piles. This would give a 15-year service life.

Another option was to put new jackets on all the pilings so they all have the same life cycle — 25 years.

Hyyti said part of the restoration involves work to the existing jackets, as they have a grout layer between the protected jacket and the original piles.

“The plan would be to add reinforcing steel and a new jacket that would encase the existing pile and then that would be filled with grout,” he said. “The jacketing has a zinc metal layer to it to provide some protection from corrosion from the salt water. It provides an extra level of protection as time goes on.”

There also were options for the Council to consider for redoing the pier.

Under the first option, some of the piles would be restored before rebuilding the pier.

“We wouldn’t change the location, height, or structure. We would change the piles and put a new deck on it,” Hyyti said. “The first option is the cheapest, but it doesn’t give us quite as long of a lifecycle for the pier. We would have to monitor the piles that don’t get repaired.”

This option would involve permitting, which could take between six to nine months. The total cost would be $4,322,000.

The second option would be to remove the piles and put in all new piles. Hyyti said since that is considered new construction, they would have to get a full Army Corps of Engineers permit, which could take 12 to 18 months or longer. This would have a total cost of $6,574,000.

The last option, which Council agreed was the best choice, has a price tag of $5,404,000. Hyyti said removing the piles would be less expensive, but it would take a little longer to do the permitting.

One of the advantages of redoing the piles and pier is increasing the elevation of the pier, Hyyti said.

“One of the advantages — the current elevation of the structure is low. The piers are 10 or 12 feet off the water. Our pier is only a few feet off the water. I think in order to help with the hardening of the new structure it would be a benefit to install new pilings and raise the structure,” he said.

Hyyti said with flood elevation and the pier it would be 11 feet compared to the current structure of just under 5. It would be a 6-foot difference if the city wants to get it above the FEMA flood elevation.

That, however, is not a requirement.

“It’s not a habitable structure. You don’t have to meet the minimum flood elevation,” Hyyti said. “It would certainly help with the FEMA funding if we continue to harden and protect assets if we did raise it up.”

The council discussed building a temporary structure as the wait time for residents could be a long one.

Councilmember Robert Welsh said it could potentially be 36 months before a new pier is done.

“I think there shouldn’t be any problem putting a new structure on part of it. You don’t need any additional permitting. We can do that quickly,” Hyyti said.