FOLLY BEACH, S.C. - Visitors and locals have one more month to admire the Folly Beach Fishing Pier before crews start reconstruction which is expected to last for more than two years.
The pier will close on Oct. 19 to start construction on its replacement which is expected to cost $13.8 million.
Bruce Wright, project manager for Charleston County Parks, said the current wooden pier which opened in 1995 is deteriorating from the inside as worms eat through the pilings.
“Wooden timber pilings here typically lasts between 20 to 25 years. We made it to about 18 years. We did a dive inspection and figured out that we had a problem,” Wright said. “So there’s a lot more piles that are getting eaten as we speak and so this is just going to continue to deteriorate.”
The new pier will have a similar layout and expanded areas for shade, but the pier will instead be made of concrete to avoid the same issues.
“The thought is with the concrete piles it’s going to last about 60 years,” Wright said.
Over the past 25 years, 6.6 million people have visited the pier.
James Island resident Deborah Christian said the pier is one of her favorite spots in the Lowcountry and she’s sad to see it close.
“My husband and I met down here. He actually proposed to me at the old pier,” Christian said. “It’s always been a highlight for me to come here it’s like our church.”
The current pier has generated around 26.6 million in gross revenue for the local economy, according to the Charleston County Parks Department.
Wright said the largest impact to businesses on the pier will be during the first five months of construction as crews rebuild the front end of the pier.
“The idea is that it’s going to be completed in five months,” Wright said. “Then, we will re-open this area to the public and once we do that, then they will start working on the walkway out to the diamond head.”
Construction on the new pier is expected to last 28 months and open in spring 2023.