After recent accounts of “shifting” and “swaying” of the pier in Harborfront Park, the Port Jefferson Village board of trustees commissioned a field assessment of the pier.
The Bohemia-based engineering firm P.W. Grosser Consulting Inc. conducted the assessment, made several recommendations — including instituting a maximum occupancy for the pier of 180 people — and noted several deficiencies that may need to be addressed.
The Village hosted its annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival Sept. 16 at Harborfront Park, which drew participants and spectators totaling in the hundreds. During the event, the pier was frequently packed with people, and according to the report, it could be felt swaying and shifting at various points throughout the day.
The assessment in part found “severe section loss” to pilings, or columns driven into the sediment that serve as a foundation for the platform, a missing washer and nut for one beam-to-piling connection, rusted connections between pieces of wood and a split in at least one cross-bracing. The report recommended that section loss to pilings and the missing washer and nut be addressed immediately, and called them “significant structural deficiencies.”
Village Mayor Margot Garant said in an email the issues will be addressed as a matter of “when” and not “if,” and the job will be put out for bid. Garant said the maximum occupancy recommendation would be increased when the improvements are completed. At a village board meeting Oct. 20, Garant estimated that, at any given point, there might have been as many as 200 people on the pier.
“We immediately asked everybody other than the boaters to get off the pier,” Garant said after accounts of swaying and shifting circulated Sept. 16. She added the assessment was ordered as an emergency. “It’s obviously showing some age and some wear and tear. … It’s something we’ll need to have addressed.”
Village Trustee Bruce D’Abramo was in favor of a proactive approach regarding the recommendations.
“They’ve called the village’s attention to a couple of issues [with the pier], I think that if we ignored it, it would not be good,” he said during the meeting on the Oct. 20.
The 337-feet long by 12-feet wide pier is made entirely of timber and was originally built in 1996. It was last modified in 2004, according to the report. The pier remains open for use, with the maximum occupancy restrictions in place.