JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city has awarded a $9.88 million contract to repair and rebuild the Jacksonville Beach Pier has been mostly closed after sustaining damage in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017.
The focal point and beloved landmark in Jacksonville Beach has not been what it used to be.
"At low tide, we don't have much water, so we don't have much space. So not a lot of people come out like it used to be. It used to be crowded -- elbow room only -- and that's when it was fun -- pulling up fish, having fish stories, the tourists watching you, all that good stuff," fisherman Michael Convington said Friday.
After the hurricanes caused significant damage in back-to-back years, destroying about half of the structure, the city made repairs to some of the pier. Currently, about half of it is open to people who want to come out to fish or take in the beautiful sites.
But the big rebuild job went to contact and the contract was awarded last week to Hal Jones Contractor, a Jacksonville-based division of Vecellio and Grogan Inc. If the contract can be executed by next month, repairs would begin in November and be completed by November 2021.
"Can't wait," beaches resident Rolando Salinas said.
Though some residents want a quick fix, beaches community activist and blogger Chuck McCue said patience will pay off, eventually.
"Of course, in this instant, give-it-to-me now society, everybody wants to push a button and poof a pier will appear," McCue said. "It’s an investment. I would rather see it built right, built correctly and built strong and take two years than build it and have to build again like we’re doing now."
The project includes removing damaged sections 12 to 25 from the pier and rebuilding it to its original 34-section length. The contractor will also rebuild and cap some of the pier’s concrete structure piles and install wood deck panels, lighting, plumbing and fire protection.
Hal Jones’ project cost was about $1.98 million higher than the city’s $8 million estimate for the project, but its bid was the lowest of three received by the city. Superior Construction Company Southeast LLC of Jacksonville bid $13.18 million and Miami-based Continental Heavy Civil Corp bid $14.45 million.
An addendum to the request for proposals for the project outlines several construction mandates from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for construction near beach dunes.
According to the addendum, Hal Jones will work from a temporary trestle extended from the public parking lot on Fourth Avenue North over the dunes to the end of the construction area.
Although no equipment will be allowed on the restored dunes, the addendum says “some temporary, localized reshaping of the dunes will be allowed” but restoration, including vegetation, will be required.
The contractors will also be responsible for removing and replacing two benches for pier users.
Hal Jones Contractor had not returned News4Jax's call, requesting comment, as of Friday afternoon.