The city's engineering firm is drafting new plans for the construction of Frank Sinatra Park after the pier further collapsed on May 4.
A rapid increase of shipworms eating at the wood that is holding up the pier has made it impossible to follow the firm's and the city's plan to rehabilitate the piles by encasing them in reinforced concrete. During the time it took to acquire the necessary permits to complete this from the Department of Environmental Protection as well as from the Army Corps of Engineers, the destruction exponentially increased.
Parts of the pier on which Sinatra park rests, collapsed in 2009. While initially, three years ago, the wooden piles holding up the soccer field had a 30 to 50 percent section loss, it has now changed to 50 to 100 percent, engineers on the site explained on Monday.
Currently, wooden piles are holding up a timber deck, on which a sea wall rests. Timber is holding up the whole pier. After the construction, concrete and steel will be holding up the pier and no more wood will be used, the engineers said.
Under the new proposal, which is supposed to be completed at the end of the week, a new sea wall will have to be built, on top of steel piles filled with concrete, explained engineer Michael Nannini, who works for Boswell Engineers.
"It wasn't the first option, but it's the next best option," said city engineer Joe Pomante. This way, he explained, the habitat in the water under the soccer field will also be saved.
The reconstruction of the field—the new piles, the new sea wall as well as a new deck—is estimated to be completed in August 2013 if the DEP and the Army Corps grant the necessary permits, Nannini said.
"Rehabilitating the piles is no longer an option and we must instead do a complete reconstruction with a new high level platform," Mayor Dawn Zimmer wrote in a memo to the council.
The engineers couldn't yet give an exact estimate about the cost, but said it'll be significantly more than the initial plan.
"It'll be more money," said Pomante, "no doubt about it."
About 12,000 tons of soil will now have to be taken away from the pier, because the entire foundation will be replaced.
Standing on the edge of the pier on Monday, Zimmer sighed. "It's pretty bad," she said as she looked down at the new collapse.
The increased danger of collapse could also be dangerous for divers assessing the situation. "We are lucky nobody died on the job," Zimmer said.
A temporary sheet wall will be placed around the area, while the construction takes place, so that a new sea wall can be constructed.
The wood piles as well as the wood deck keeping the field up are about 100 years old.
"We want to get this done," Zimmer said.