Pier 20 on the south side of St. John’s Harbour will be deconstructed and built brand new, under a tender recently called by the St. John’s Port Authority.
“It’s a significant portion of basically a $6-million capital expenditure program we have this year,” said Brian Smart, vice-president of operations for the port authority.
The authority hasn’t pegged the cost for Pier 20 as the tender call was only made last weekend.
“It will be new,” said Bob McCarthy, director of business development for the port. “A very robust, strong, state-of-the-art facility to support the fishing sector.”
The wooden pier was acquired by the old national harbours board back around the 1960s and has had patchwork repairs over time, but not a rebuild.
Last summer, fishermen told The Telegram they were concerned about having to tie up in the unsafe area when other berthing spaces were full.
“We got with it a bunch of different types of construction in the wharf over there,” Smart said, adding the authority has contracted engineering firms to examine it in the past.
“A few years back, they recommended some work. Shortly afterwards we had an isolated failure over there and had to shut down a portion of the wharf.”
Smart said it wasn’t in danger of collapsing, but a section of concrete deck became a problem.
“What we are doing now is going back in with a more modern steel pipe, pile type construction with reinforced concrete deck,” he said.
The work will take the whole summer construction season and into the fall, Smart said, adding the authority hopes to minimize disruption to the fishing industry as much as possible.
McCarthy said fishermen have more or less been without the facility for a year and a half due to its condition.
“For this season, there is a little bit of disruption, but at the end of the season, you are back to a new facility,” he said.
“The fishing community has been part of the port for more than 500 years, and I’m sure they’re going to continue for another 500 more.”
In the meantime, some additional berthing space will be available on the north side of the harbour, near the Keg, during construction.
Bids close March 11.