CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Cole Park Pier takes a big step forward with the placement of the 59th and last cement pile that will support the new pier, but the placement of those piles has some residents concerned.
Councilman Ben Molina said he’s received questions about the unique placement of the piles.
Typically, they’d be in straight lines, but this design has them staggered.
“The old pier was just a straight pier that went out into our bay,” Molina said. “Here, with the new design, we have kick-outs — two on each side. And so when you see the staggered piles, those are there to accommodate those kick-outs.”
Also called bump outs, the balcony-type boxes that will jut out off the side of the pier will allow for additional seating and shade, among other things.
“(They) are going to allow the residents to go fishing, to stand and enjoy the water or sit down, whatever they may want to do,” Van Hazel said. “And they’ll be able to do so without impacting the main walking path to the pier.”
Despite weather setbacks — freezing temperatures in February and heavy rain in May — the project remains on track for a September completion. But those events haven’t made it easy for the contractor to stick to that timeline.
“You’re not only fighting inclement weather like the rain, the hurricanes, the freeze event, but you’re also fighting the waves,” said Brett Van Hazel, assistant director of engineering services over construction management team for the City of Corpus Christi. “You know if you’re out there on the water and the water gets too choppy, the contractor can’t work.”
If it rains, the crew has to wait for the ground to dry.
If wind speed is over 25 mph, out of caution, work has to stop.
“What the contractor has done to make up some of that time is move from a five-day work week to a seven-day work week,” Molina said. “And, so the contractor is going to continue with that schedule, as long as the weather cooperates with us. That’s something that we can’t control.”
Now pier caps or crossbeams are being put in place. Molina said the project is now 30 percent complete.
In the end, Molina said the memories made will be worth the wait. He said anyone who has lived in Corpus Christi long enough has a memory of the pier.
“Taking my family, my very young children, to the pier for the very first time,” he said. “I’m always going to remember that. I remember going out and walking on the pier when my wife and I were dating. Seeing those people, talking to those people who caught their first fish out here. People have had first dates, people have had proposals out here. And so, there’s a lot of memories for the people in our city. And, those are the kinds of stories I’m looking forward to hearing once this pier is completed.”