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Oceanside dredging nears completion; pier repair costs uncertain

Manson Construction crews resumed dredging sand from Oceanside Harbor after a two-week hiatus due to a vessel needing repairs.

Posted on June 5, 2024

Since April, residents and visitors have experienced major changes at Oceanside Pier and surrounding areas, including a structure fire on the pier’s western end and a weekslong sand dredging project now nearing completion.

According to Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman, approximately 83% of the pier is currently open to the public after a fire on April 25 severely damaged the pier’s hammerhead and destroyed the former Ruby’s Diner and Brine Box restaurant buildings.

Gossman said it will likely be another three or four years before the pier is completely reopened to the public. The city hopes to begin debris removal by the end of the summer.

“It’s going to take some time,” Gossman said, noting the application process alone will be time-consuming due to the number of permits required.

Gossman said everything above the pier’s pilings on the hammerhead must be replaced, and neither of the restaurant buildings could be salvaged.

The city must also determine if there was severe enough damage done to require replacement of the pier’s pilings, which are the tall poles that hoist the pier up.

“If we replace those, it’s going to get a lot more expensive,” Gossman said.

The city recently estimated that it would cost an estimated $17.2 million to repair the pier; however, that number is a temporary placeholder and could change drastically.

The westernmost end of Oceanside Pier remains closed to the public after an April 25 fire destroyed the former Ruby’s Diner and nearby Brine Box seafood kiosk.

Visitors can still access most of Oceanside Pier as the city begins fire-damage repairs.

“At this point, we just don’t know,” Gossman said.

Fire investigators have determined that the fire was not intentionally set and appears to have started on the northwestern side of the pier, possibly underneath the deck. The fire did not start in Ruby’s building, officials confirmed.

On the shoreline, sand dredging operations have resumed pumping sand from the Harbor inlet through a large bypass onto the beach immediately south of the pier.

The annual dredging project began in April but was halted on May 15 when the dredge vessel experienced a mechanical issue. Manson Construction, the company conducting dredging operations, was forced to dry-dock the dredger in Long Beach for repairs.

A pipeline pumps sand dredged from the harbor inlet to beaches south of Oceanside Pier.

Sand dredging resumes on the beaches south of Oceanside Pier.

Crews resumed dredging work on May 28 after a two-week hiatus.

Dredging resumed on May 28 after nearly two weeks of repair work. As Manson crews complete the dredging operation, the sand outfall pipe will be moved southward, filling up more city beaches with sand. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to complete all dredging and equipment removal by June 17.

Until then, the city recommends beachgoers use the beach north of the pier or Harbor Beach.

Last year, the city received nearly 500,000 cubic yards of sand on its beaches from dredging the harbor, much higher than the annual standard of 200,000 to 300,000 cubic yards due to the unusual storms that hit the coastline and built-up sand in the harbor inlet.

While the city won’t receive the same amount of sand on its beaches as last year, Gossman said it is still expecting to receive more than usual. As of May 31, Manson had reached 267,000 cubic yards of dredged sand.

Manson Construction played a crucial role in the firefighting efforts when the company voluntarily used its dredging vessel to spray water onto the pier’s fire.


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