Pier braced for summer

Repair work began on the Harper Public Fishing Pier this week, nearly five months after it closed to all users last December.

On Tuesday, a load of steel beams was delivered as scheduled and floated out to the dock — which a mid-December inspection revealed had too many weakened pilings, or support beams — where crews from Triton Marine Construction could begin installing them.

Steve Slaton, director of marine facilities for the Port of Bremerton, said the beams, once in place, are designed to stabilize the aging pier by re-distributing weight from the rotten wooden beams to stronger beams.

Slaton said the work, which is costing the port a little over $40,000, is intended as a temporary fix while officials investigate a more permanent one.

Now that the beams have arrived, which Slaton said was the most crucial step of the process, the work should be completed on the popular fishing and strolling spot in less than two weeks.

“We will still have to do a final inspection, but I’m hopeful that it will open again either before or on the first of June,” he said.

Slaton said quality and price were the main considerations in choosing which company’s bid to accept, but another factor was how long the repairs were expected to take.

“We’re pushing to get it done as quickly as possible,” he said, explaining that he wanted to make sure the pier was not closed for as long a period as last time, which was more than a year. “I’m optimistic now that the pier will be open by the start of the summer recreation season.”

Used extensively by local fishermen, walkers and simply view-seekers, the pier has been closed since Dec. 15.

Once the temporary work is underway, Slaton said his staff will begin discussing options for more permanent repairs.

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