After several months' delay, repair work on Folly Beach Pier to begin

A piling in the breaker area which will be repaired (Source: Live 5
A piling in the breaker area which will be repaired (Source: Live 5

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - After a two-and-a-half month delay, repair work on the Folly Beach Pier will begin this week.

Capital Project Manager Bruce Wright with the Charleston County Parks & Recreation Commission said Monday materials needed for the project were back ordered.

"The main reason was because we couldn't get the fiberglass sleeves in," Wright said. "The manufacturer who provides those for our contractor Hydro [Corporation], they put in the order and they came in late."

Wright says marine borers, or wood-eating worms, over the last several years have made sections of the Folly Beach Pier unstable.

Now crews will work on repairing 11 of the pilings out near the diamondhead.

"Repairing the pilings out here is going to keep the pier safe for the next several years and keep it structurally sound so that people can still come out and use it in the meantime," CCPRC spokeswoman Sarah Reynolds said.

Contractors will encapsulate the pilings with a steel rebar, wrap them fiberglass sleeves, and then fill them with concrete. Wright said this process cuts off the oxygen to the worms.

The work was originally expected to be completed June 15. Now crews will work during the busy beach season with an expected finishing date at the end of August.

"The guys are going to get out here as close to sun up as they can because mother nature is a bit friendlier to them," Wright said. "The wind hasn't picked up, the waves haven't started so it's easier conditions for these guys to be getting in the water and doing the work."

Wright said this work won't disrupt beach goers, but people fishing on the pier need to be aware of their surroundings.

"You don't want guys fishing right next to the divers," he said. " If there's fish being caught, maybe a shark might trail up behind the fish. The divers don't want to run in nose to nose with a shark. The main thing we care about is the divers' safety, so no hooks and no sharks."

Reynolds added while this work is being done the Parks and Recreation Commission continues to work on a capital improvement project to replace the pier.

"One of the plans that have been discussed so far is to possibly have concrete pilings and a wood walkway," she said. "It would depend on the builder and engineer who are selected."

Construction of a new pier is estimated at $7.5 million. The CCPRC is currently working with Charleston County Council to seek a bond which would pay for the pier replacement and other capital improvement projects it has planned.

The encapsulation project is expected to cost $217,000, money which is coming from a bond already approved for.

In 2014 Hydro Corporation repaired more than 30 of the pilings in the diamond-head area of the pier.

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