Damage from high surf closes Ocean Beach Pier for repairs ‘until further notice’

High surf caused damage on the Ocean Beach Pier.
High surf caused damage on the Ocean Beach Pier that will keep the pier closed until further notice, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
(San Diego Fire-Rescue Department)

The Ocean Beach Pier sustained damage during high surf Jan. 6 that has caused the half-century-old pier to be closed indefinitely until repairs are made, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said on social media the morning of Jan. 8.

It could take weeks for crews to assess the damage and make repairs, said city lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero.

Lifeguards already had shut down public access to the pier the morning of Jan. 5 because of high surf and tides. The pier also was closed temporarily during the last week of December as a precaution against rough surf.

The Fire-Rescue Department posted photos Jan. 8 of broken railings on the pier. The damage was reminiscent of what occurred during rough surf in January 2021, after which repairs for that and other damage resulted in the pier being at least partially closed until July 2022.

Plastic pipes that contain the pier’s electrical wiring also were damaged by the latest stormy seas, Romero said.

Repairs won’t start until the water is calmer, he said, noting that another ocean swell is expected Tuesday, Jan. 10. “It’s not going to be as big, but we’ll have definitely some surf still. So nothing really gets done until the surf drops.”

The Ocean Beach Pier, which first opened in 1966, is, at 1,971 feet, the second-longest ocean pier in California and the longest concrete pier in the world.

A report in 2019 by Long Beach-based engineering consultant Moffatt & Nichol said the pier has “reached the end of its service life,” and the city of San Diego plans to replace it.

A wave hits the Ocean Beach Pier on Jan. 4.
(Randy Dible)

In October, the City Council approved an $8 million contract with Moffatt & Nichol for a study to begin the planning process for replacing the pier. Plans call for construction of a new pier to begin by 2026.

But a lawsuit filed in November by the Animal Protection and Rescue League, a San Diego-based animal-rights and environmental group, seeks to block the contract, alleging that environmental factors haven’t been adequately considered since the contract calls for work such as auger boring, drilling, sand excavation and other activities that could cause fumes and noise pollution in Ocean Beach.

— San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer Roxana Popescu contributed to this report.


5:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 2023: This article was updated with further information and comments.


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