CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC closes Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier for safety reasons
LEWES (Oct. 27, 2014) – DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Director Ray Bivens has ordered the immediate closure of the aging Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier as a safety measure after a recent structural analysis report found that the pier required significant repairs if it is to continue to be used by the public for angling and other recreational activities.
An engineering analysis for DNREC completed by Baker, Ingram and Associates found that the pier should be taken out of service and pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the pier prohibited until repairs are made to a minimum of 24 wooden pilings that support the World War II-era structure.
The report also found that because the pilings are rapidly deteriorating, more pilings are likely require refitting and reinforcement, depending on how quickly DNREC can implement the pier’s repairs to keep it in service. The repairs are expected to only be a short-term fix as more extensive shoring up for the affected pilings is a necessity within the next year. For a longer-term solution, said Matthew Chesser, administrator of planning preservation, Division of Parks & Recreation, repairs are expected to be made to approximately 125 pilings, along with extensive decking and superstructure replacement.
The all-wooden pier was built during World War II by the US Army as a mining wharf. Several rehabilitative efforts have been undertaken since 2007 to the pilings beneath the section that remains open for public use. The T-head portion of the pier was demolished in 2012 after its deteriorated condition was thought to pose a threat to safety and navigation. The Division of Parks & Recreation has been closely monitoring the condition of the pier since that time and has noticed an accelerated rate of deterioration in the structure.
An adjacent bait-and-tackle shop, parking lot for pier-goers and public restrooms will remain open while the pier is under repair. Meanwhile, fishermen, boaters, kayakers are cautioned to stay clear of the pier. “It is unfortunate that such actions are necessary but the structure is reaching the end of its functional life,” Parks & Recreation Director Bivens said. “DNREC staff will begin reviewing all of the available options for repair of the pier or for a suitable replacement of the pier’s function.”
Vol. 44, No. 376