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Will Bob Hall Pier just need repair or a total rebuild?

Posted at 10:12 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 23:13:49-04

Parts of Bob Hall Pier collapsed nearly three weeks ago when Hurricane Hanna made landfall in South Texas. Since then, it’s been full-steam ahead assessing the damage and picking up the pieces left behind.

Will Bob Hall Pier need to be rebuilt, or does it require just a partial fix? Those are questions Nueces County leaders currently are getting answered.

Nueces County Coastal Parks Director Scott Cross said engineers still are assessing the pier’s damage, but, right now, the biggest concerns are visible cracks in the pier’s beams.

“When they flew their drone, they saw what appeared to be cracks,” he said. “Now, are they superficial cracks or are they full-on structural cracks?”

To get a better look at the damage, Cross said engineers have to remove the pier’s concrete pads.

“That’s really going to be the tell-all as to what we can recover, and what we have to replace, once that’s done,” he said. “It’s not going to be cheap, but we’re working hard (to get it fixed.)”

Cross said if the pier needs to be repaired, work would take about 1 1/2 years. If it needs to be rebuilt, work would take about two years.

In the meantime, crews are working in the area to move sand around to rebuild the beach, and cleaning up storm debris to make the road more accessible when beach restrictions are lifted.

“We want to get it safe to where if you wanted to drive up and down the beach -- we’ll get that opened up sooner or later," he said. "But we’ll still have the pier completely closed off.”

Cross said he’ll know more about the pier’s damage on Friday. He hopes to have a final answer on whether the pier will be rebuilt or repaired by next week.

Cross said he’s also working with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales to finalize the pier’s damage estimates. If that amount meets the state's threshold, Nueces County could get funds from FEMA to rebuild or repair the pier. If not, Cross said the county will apply for FEMA-issued grants in September.

There’s still plenty storm debris in the Bob Hall Pier area, and even as far as six to seven miles south heading toward Padre Island National Seashore. A beach clean-up is scheduled for Aug. 22. Volunteers will meet at Briscoe King Pavilion at 8:45 a.m.

The General Land Office and TAMUCC’S Conrad Blucher Institute are also helping the county with storm debris clean-up.