A Santa Monica pier restoration plan that will cost far less than previous proposals has been approved by the City Council, allowing officials to begin rebuilding the landmark that was partially destroyed by storms more than two years ago.
The rebuilding plan, which won unanimous approval, puts the reconstruction cost at $13 million. The money would go for rebuilding and extending the pier's 900-foot breakwater and fortifying damaged sections of the structure.
Gail Markens, director of the Pier Restoration Corporation, told the council that the plan represents the best solution for the money, saying "We've finally identified an alternative that represents a decrease of about $4 million from the original design alternatives."
The reconstruction is part of a long-range plan to upgrade entertainment and activities on the dilapidated pier. Councilman Ken Edwards said he was glad to see the plan approved after such long delays, and added that he also was pleased with the design. "We can use a combination of concrete and wood pilings." Edwards said, "Concrete pilings where it is least expensive and wood pilings where we want to maintain the visual integrity of the pier."
Construction on the project is expected to begin sometime next year. The city will receive $4 million in reconstruction funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.5 million from other outside sources. City Manager John Jalili told the council that the additional money needed to complete the project may have to come from the city's general fund.
Officials have been considering ways to rebuild the pier since 1983, when winter storms destroyed a third of the landmark. The plan originally submitted by the engineering firm of Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall, which called for demolishing 60,000 square feet of timber on the pier and replacing it with concrete, was rejected because it was considered too expensive.