A Santa Monica pier restoration plan that will cost far less than previous proposals has been approved by the City Council, allowing officials to begin rebuilding the landmark that was damaged badly by storms two years ago.
The plan, which won unanimous approval, puts the reconstruction cost at $13 million. The money would go for rebuilding and extending the pier's 900-foot breakwater and fortifying damaged sections.
Gail Markens, director of the Pier Restoration Corp., told the council that the plan represents the best solution for the money, saying, "We've finally identified an alternative that represents a decrease of about $4 million from the original design alternatives."
Reconstruction is part of a long-range plan to upgrade entertainment and other activities on the dilapidated pier. Councilman Ken Edwards said he was glad to see the plan approved after long delays and that he was pleased with the design. "We can use a combination of concrete and wood pilings," Edwards said, "concrete where it is least expensive and wood where we want to maintain the visual integrity of the pier."
Construction is expected to begin next year. The city will receive $4 million in reconstruction funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.5 million from other outside sources. City Manager John Jalili told the council that additional money may have to come from the city's general fund.
Officials have been considering ways to rebuild the pier since 1983 when winter storms destroyed a third of the landmark. The plan originally submitted by the engineering firm of Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall, which called for demolishing 60,000 square feet of timber on the pier and replacing it with concrete, was rejected as too expensive.
The plan approved by the council Tuesday night represents a compromise. The council will review and vote on more detailed construction plans as they become available.