Surfside Beach works to find how to rebuild pier lost to Hurricane Matthew

Surfside Beach works to find how to rebuild pier lost to Hurricane Matthew
(Source: WMBF News)
(Source: WMBF News)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Cleanup from Hurricane Matthew continued Wednesday as Surfside Beach looked forward to plan how to rebuild a landmark that was destroyed in the storm.

"The pier is  a focal point of the town," explained Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs. "So many people enjoy the pier, the fishermen and tourist who walk on it."

But, bits of the pier were washing up all across town on Wednesday, days after Hurricane Matthew tore it away.

"The other day I was on the beach, and I found one of the sinks they use to clean fish on the pier, and that's a mile away from the pier," Childs said. "Debris is all over the beach."

The pieces of the pier that were swept into the ocean, and back up on to the beach were piled up on Surfside Drive.

The pier was already on town council's radar before the hurricane hit. Council members were supposed to approve a study of the pier at the meeting Tuesday, after a pylon broke during the storm prior to Hurricane Matthew.

"We had a pylon break on us, and the engineers were going to check if there were any other pylons that the storm had destroyed. And that was, we were going to give the administrator to go ahead and hire the engineer to do it."

But, the discussion didn't need to happen. There was no need to study the pier; they needed to figure out a plan to rebuild it.

"I can tell you it's going to be a very expensive project," Childs said. "And that's going to determine when we do it, and how we go about doing it. Hopefully those decisions will be made in the very short months to come."

Wednesday, the tackle shop and the restaurant opened for business for the first time since the storm battered the coast. Meanwhile, engineers inspected the pier. Childs said the town expects a damage assessment report within a week or so.

But the questions of when it will reopen and how much it will cost don't have easy answers.

"At this point, it would be premature to try to say exactly what we're going to do," Childs said. "It'll be determined by the structural people and the amount of money it costs to rebuild or replace."

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