Will $8.4 Million in Repairs Open Up the West End of the Ocean Beach Pier for Good?

by on January 21, 2022 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen grab from 7SanDiego video.

By Thursday, January 20, city contractors had begun to set up scaffolding near the end of the Ocean Beach Pier. The plan is to spend $8.4 million to repair two damaged piles.

A city spokesperson told media that the scaffolding might take upwards of two weeks to construct, and depending on the weather, repairs should take about eight weeks. He added the entire OB Pier should reopen once those repairs are completed. By the beginning of summer.

We’re all hoping that the city spokesguy is right, that this money will result in sufficient repairs that the end section can reopen.

Our concerns and fears are that this will be just a bandaid that will enable the pier to open the “T” section for just a limited period of time.

The city and the press keep repeating the mantra that the pier was badly damaged just last winter and these repairs will suffice. In the next breath, everyone says that, sure the Pier needs more but this is all funds that are available.

In July, Mayor Gloria announced state funding of more than $200 million allocated for regional projects, including $8.4 million for the Ocean Beach Pier.

Around last December 20, 2021, the City announced repairs would “begin this week.” Here’s part of the city press release, issued Dec 19 or Dec 20:


SAN DIEGO – Emergency repairs will begin this week on a section of the Ocean Beach Pier to fix damage caused by storm conditions in January 2021. Repairs are expected to take approximately four months, depending on the weather and tidal conditions. Once repairs are complete, the pier will fully reopen for the first time in more than a year.

In January, the 55-year-old pier was damaged by high surf. City crews repaired broken railings along the pier before it partially reopened on May 28, 2021. The pier’s west end has remained closed to the public after significant damage to two columns, also known as piles, which vertically support the structure.

Here’s pier expert Geoff Page’s response then:

Either the city is trying to rewrite history or they have paid no attention to the years of information on the pier. The city is being duplicitous or it is showing its incompetence. …

The piles that are being repaired were not damaged by the “storm conditions in January 2021,”–  they were first noted as damaged in the 2004 Pier report:

“Vertical cracks were also noted near the tops of three piles. One is located at Bent 27 and the other two are near Bent 60.”

In the 2016 report on the pier’s conditions were pictures of the two seriously damaged piles #60 and #61.

The city did nothing. The 2021 storms caused additional damage; those storms were not the sole cause of the damage. Had the city heeded the repair recommendations of the engineers years ago, the pier would not have needed closing as it is now.

The press release then repeated this incorrect information when it stated:

“The pier’s west end has remained closed to the public after significant damage to two columns, also known as piles, which vertically support the structure.”

At this point, the continuing claim that the 2021 storms caused the damage is beginning to sound more duplicitous than incompetent. …

First, the pile repair should have occurred years ago. Second, had the mayor moved more swiftly, the repairs could have taken place during the summer this year when the surf and weather were not challenging. Now, the repairs are to take place during the worst time of year for such work. …

What the city has not said is the repair of the two piles will only provide a brief future for the pier.  Estimates as little as one or two years have been mentioned by the engineers. This grand gesture by the city is a band aid on a gaping wound but it will allow the end of the pier to reopen.

And, that will give the mayor and council member Campbell another photo op in front of the pier, much like the one last year with the former mayor when they reopened the pier that was damaged so badly it represented a real threat to public safety.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam January 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm

well, if Public Works is involved, double the time and the cost.


Richard January 22, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Does anyone know when the stairs at Bermuda Beach are going to be repaired? The city council approved the project and as I understand it construction was to start this winter with the low tides. It’s been 7 years now. Common what about access to our beaches.
Just wondering does anyone know what the problem is this time?

As for the pier, we all want it open. In 1988 I observed repairs of the pier piles and some decking being reinforced and even then it was a bandaid. The pier is rotting. Cement is the worst building material in a marine environment. It rots and becomes unstable. The pier is unstable. It needs replacement not repair. What’s up San Diego? It’s San Diego’s pier. Take the states 8.4 million and apply it to the replacement budget of a pier with long lasting wood piles and decking. In the meantime can we see action on providing access to our pocket beaches.


stu January 22, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Its amazing how they wait for the winter time to do ocean pier repairs. Winter storms high tides and all the rest can certainly lengthen that time and cost. But I don’t see waiting now without the repairs it will be an ocean collision


sealintheselkirks January 22, 2022 at 2:20 pm

What are the odds that a winter storm swell will come roaring in over the next eight weeks? Doing this in winter is worse than ignorant, it’s pure stupid.

We’ve all seen waves much higher smacking those very pilings this time of year. Where the bottom of that scaffolding is hanging would be far under water in a big north swell at high tide, and somehow I doubt it would be there in the morning. The ocean would win that tug of war!

Anybody there starting a betting pool on how long those will stay up? Maybe one of those 50/50 with half going to the winner and the other half to some needy cause in OB. I’m in for a Jan 28th winter swell that washes it off.


Sam: What? You don’t trust the city to come in under budget? s/


Sam January 23, 2022 at 7:04 am

?? fiscally responsible ???


Geoff Page January 24, 2022 at 10:49 am

Exactly, seal. It’s as if they are repeating history. The original engineers used information from how the surf was in the summer and look what happened. This is nuts.


Frank Gormlie January 24, 2022 at 10:35 am

The OB Rag received this clarification from the city:

Good morning,

My name is Tyler Becker, a Public Information Officer with the City of San Diego. I was reading through an article that was posted on your site last week about the Ocean Beach Pier repairs and would like to request an update regarding the cost of the current emergency repairs.

The contract for the emergency construction that crews are currently setting up scaffolding for is an amount not to exceed $450,000. The $8.4 million from the state that is referenced in the article will go toward the future project that will address the Ocean Beach Pier’s long-term future.

If you have any questions or would like any information about the current work on the pier, please feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to help.

Thank you,

Tyler Becker
Public Information Officer
City of San Diego
Communications Department


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