The pier was closed to the surprise of many residents on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Orange cones marked the entrance to the pier and the gate blocked anyone from entering. Many ventured to the gate to see what was happening and asked each other if they had any information.
The day before, Monday, Sept. 13, a piling between light posts 15 and 16 of the pier became detached during the high surf and was seen floating in the water. The Imperial Beach lifeguards were alerted to the problem and forwarded the information to the Tidelands Division and the Port of San Diego.
Lifeguard Lieutenant Art Ayala said the pier was closed around 6 p.m. with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Department. “We wanted to make sure the structural integrity was not compromised,” he said.
The lifeguards are especially worried about the safety of the pier because they drive on it. “We’re leaving it to the professionals to give us an assessment,” he said.
While on the evening of Sept. 13 the piling was seen floating near the pier, Ayala noticed it was gone by the next morning. He personally walked the beach to see if it had come ashore, but it had not. The surf has been around 4 to 6 feet in the last few days.
The Port issued a press release that read in part, “The Port of San Diego’s engineering department and consultants are working to assess the extent of the damage and make a determination on the structural integrity of the pier. Due to the high surf that will affect our region for several more days, the team couldn’t get below the pier to to get a look at the damage or to locate and remove the broken piling. The pier will remain closed until the structural engineering team confirms the pier is safe for the public, which could take up to two weeks. In addition to the pier closure, the public is urged to steer clear of the waters near the pier until the broken piling can be found and pulled out of the water.”