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Vilano Beach pier and walk-over in need of repair

7:17 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Two popular structures in Vilano Beach are in need of construction attention.

Jay Myers is the property manager for the marina and Beaches restaurant. The property sits right between the big Vilano bridge -- which is A1A -- and the old Vilano bridge which is now a fishing pier on the intracoastal waterway.

Myers said, "We get people coming off the [pier] to come over here and eat."

The pier needs some major repairs on its underbelly. The steel beams under the pier's walkway are very rusty.

"What we need to do is remove this rust, cut out any parts that can't be saved, and weld in new steel, sandblast the bridge and paint it," said St. Johns County's Construction Director Michael Rubin.

He told St. Johns County commissioners that they couldn't put off the repairs any longer and that, "You're going to get a lot of your money's worth if you do the maintenance now and not push it off another 5 years. If we push it off another five years, it may be cost prohibitive."

Just a couple miles north on A1A, another structure also needs help.

The North Beach Park walkover is an elevated pedestrian path above A1A.

"That's a heavily used facility," Rubin noted.

Rubin says the wind bracing -- which are the cross-like tubes underneath the walkway -- is heavily rusted. We found one brace was missing.  

Rubin said, "It's not dangerous right now" for the people who walk on it.

However, there is concern if a 50 mile per hour wind came through.

"A wind event could take it," Rubin explained. "The DOT is more concerned with it falling in a wind event onto A1A and hurting somebody."

After Rubin's urging, the St. Johns County Commission approved $250,000 to remove and replace the walk-over. Rubin added that the new walkover should be up by the summer.

As for the pier, Rubin explained the commissioners authorized $90,000 for an engineering study and survey and construction documents to see how much work is needed.

No word on a timeline for the pier project.

"I would love to see it protected and preserved," Myers said.

He said the pier isn't just good for his business, but for Vilano's local economy, which is starting to pick up speed.

"For the downtown village of Vilano, it's essential this be here."

First Coast News

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