DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara has ordered the demolition and removal of the outermost tee-head section of the aging Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier as an immediate safety measure after the structure began to collapse and debris from it was seen as posing navigational and environmental hazards.
The tee-head section of the pier, which has been closed to the public since 2006, recently was found to be rapidly deteriorating as a result of prolonged storm and wave damage, prompting the emergency measures, Sec. O’Mara said. Demolition and removal will be confined to the tee-head, or outer span, at the end of the 1,800-foot-long pier on the Delaware Bay. Contractors are expected to be onsite with equipment later this week.
The all-wooden pier was built during World War II by the US Army as a mining wharf. Several rehabilitative efforts have been undertaken since 2007 to the pilings beneath the section that remains open for public use.
There will be no additional closure of the fishing pier during demolition activity. An adjacent bait-and-tackle shop, parking lot for pier-goers and public restrooms will remain open during the demolition project. Meanwhile, fishermen, boaters, kayakers are cautioned to stay clear of the deteriorated sections per a Notice-to-Mariners posted by the US Coast Guard.
DNREC will begin immediately the partial dismantling of the Cape Henlopen pier because of imminent threats, both onshore and off, as storm season nears. “As larger and larger pieces break off, they could present significant hazards to navigation, and potentially to seaside facilities like DRBA’s Ferry Terminal,” Sec. O’Mara said, noting that creosote-treated timbers breaking away from the pier could pose environmental concerns. “For these reasons, our experts believe that it is absolutely critical to remove the structure before the fall storm season arrives.”
Logo courtesy Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control