pier house at the Frisco (aka Cape Hatteras) Pier is ready to be
dismantled and removed – a project that will likely begin on Tuesday,
December 12, and which will last just a few days to several weeks.
the initial staging phase, which included asbestos abatement by a
special contractor, inspections, and securing the site with fencing,
the removal portion of the project can now begin in earnest, starting
with the pier house and working towards the visible pilings.
Construction, which has worked with the National Park Service on
several projects, is tackling the removal, which has presented several
obstacles from the get go. First, the pier needs to be dismantled
without creating debris along the beach and in the water, and second,
pilings that may be lodged 30 ft. deep need to be fully removed to
prevent future injury.
tackle the potential debris issue, the crews are using small equipment
like chainsaws to remove the visible components piece by piece, and
take them away from the site. “This way, we can minimize any debris
flying around,” said Cary Huffman, Facility Operations Specialist with
the National Park Service.
the pilings, diving teams will be enlisted to ensure each pilling is
fully and completely removed from the site. This phase of the project
is the most labor intensive, and is the most dependent on good weather
conditions. “All of the pilings below the water’s surface are not
smooth – they are jagged and dangerous,” said Huffman, noting that
leaving any portions of submerged pilings behind could create
treacherous conditions for mariners, surfers, and swimmers in the
future. “We need to make sure they are completely gone.”
of all the visible elements of the pier will be a relatively quick
process, but the diving team has to work with the wind and current
conditions to proceed safely. Because of this, while it’s more likely
than not that the project will be completed by the May 1, 2018
deadline, there may be unforeseen weather delays.
Frisco Pier was built in 1960 but began to deteriorate in the 2000s.
David Hallac, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent, said that
in 2010 – before a barrage of subsequent storms – the cost to repair
the pier would have been roughly $2 million dollars. At this point,
with less than 150 feet of the original 600 ft. long pier remaining,
(or less than 40% of the structure), the cost of rebuilding would be
was safety concerns of debris both in the water and washing ashore that
prompted the project, which was first proposed in 2013. And while the
pier itself will completely disappear from the Frisco shoreline, the
beach will continue to be a popular public access spot.
the pier was operational, the parking lot and the road that led to the
structure were both privately owned, however after the project is over,
the parking lot and road will remain open to the public, and a future
comfort station with restrooms – perhaps similar to the Bathhouse in
Hatteras village – has already been proposed and is being
“The silver lining is that we will be able to make the parking lot and the road accessible to everyone,” said Hallac.
the meantime, the site will be barricaded during the duration of the
project for safety as crews begin the slow and steady process of
removing the pier from the landscape.
with the tiles removed from the interior of the pier house, and just
the bare floors, walls and ceilings remaining, the pier’s appearance is
certainly a stark contrast to how it looked during its heyday, when it
was one of the most popular fishing (and surfing spots) on the island.
a couple of windows in the pier house remain unbroken, and while there
are still flashes of the old operating pier – like an intact counter,
or the wide opening that leads out to the ocean – all the fixtures,
equipment, and other elements that were intrinsically part of the pier
Anderson of Harkers Island is the DOT Construction Superintendent of
the project, and he says that the removal is a personally bittersweet
is a project that hits close to home,” he said. “I have been surfing
and fishing at this pier since 1979 [or] 1980, and it’s a shame to see
it in disrepair. But she’ll go out as a pier that brought wonderful
memories to myself and so many people, and not as the decayed structure
that could hurt somebody’s [child.]”
“She will be missed.”
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