ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. -- Amid the birds, fishermen, and tourists, there is construction on the pier at St. Augustine Beach.
Dolph Kiser, a resident, was strolling through the park near the pier Tuesday. Describing it, Kiser said, "For the city of ST. Augustine Beach, it's certainly as asset."
As for the repair work, Kiser said, "It probably needs it."
He is right.
According to St. Johns County inspections, the waves have taken a toll on the 26-year-old pier.
Michael Rubin is the Director of Construction for St. Johns County. He explained, "we have to stop the water infiltration into the concrete and rebar or within a year to 16 months, we'd have to condemn the pier."
According to Rubin, the options are to either spend $300,000 to repair the pier now or spend $5 million to build a brand new pier.
Rubin said the repair work is "good remedial action" and believes the remediation will extend the life of the pier for another five to ten years.
The current repairs along the edges of the pier are expected to take another two weeks.
When that is done, the more extensive work on the concrete beams underneath the wooden walkway will start. During that process, the pier will have to close for about two weeks, Rubin noted.
That closure is expected to take place around the beginning of April, right around spring break, and the county is getting an earful about the timing.
However, Rubin explained, the project needs to continue. "It's way too expensive to send the contractor home and them bring him back, so we're going to do the best we can."
Rubin said, "There really is never a good time to do repair work on the pier."
Kiser, who works in the tourism industry, agreed.
"There are always tourists here whether it's spring break, summer, or winter." He added that the spring breakers will probably want to be on the beach "instead of on the pier with fishing poles."
While Kiser and many of the regulars at the pier agree the structure needs help, they hope the repairs don't take too long.
First Coast News