Repair works carried out to Worthing Pier to avert possibility of ‘true emergency’

Repair works to Worthing Pier were carried out late last year to avert the possibility of a ‘true emergency’ occurring, according to council officers.

The Pier.  Worthing. Pic Steve Robards SR2010222 SUS-201022-122404001
The Pier. Worthing. Pic Steve Robards SR2010222 SUS-201022-122404001

The pier, landing stage and lido sub-structures are maintained under a contract last awarded in 2019 for two years with the option for annual extensions.

Due to the Covid pandemic, the current contractor suffered material supply and personnel resourcing problems, which led to it terminating the contract with Worthing Borough Council in August last year.

An inspection carried out in early November, following a report of deteriorated railings to the top deck of the landing stage, noted the landing stage sub-structure had ‘seriously deteriorated’ due to recent storm events and required ‘immediate works to maintain the structural stability’.

Works were considered ‘urgent’ as the deterioration of the pier landing stage sub-structure due to bad weather and sea swells ‘could have resulted in part of the pier landing stage collapsing, creating a true emergency, posing an immediate risk to services (i.e. the provision of ‘fishing services’ would have been affected; with further effect, if the Pier substructure was also damaged, that the Southern and Central Pavilions would likely close)’.

An officers report added: “There was also a real and substantial risk someone would get injured on the beach, if there was a collapse of the pier landing stage at any time even if the pier was closed.”

JT Mackley & Co Ltd were called in by the council and started in early December, working during the available period of low tides.

Whilst officers noted works proceeded well, further deterioration had occurred in the period between detection and the start of the emergency work but not to the extent of failure.

They added: “During this same tidal window period further inspections were carried out to the pier and landing stage substructures confirming the extent of works required to bring the substructure to an suitable standard. Inspections will continue during this period at a greater frequency until the emergency works are completed.

“The initial emergency works undertaken on the 3rd December 2021 tidal window has abated the deterioration to the landing stage substructure and significantly reduced the risk level to the pier substructure. The planned additional tidal working windows available in the first three months of 2022 will ensure the landing stage is restored to a good working condition, subject to any severe weather events encountered in this period.

“The contractor has programmed resources in for the next available tidal window from the 31st December 2021 to the 8th January 2022 to continue the emergency work. Subsequent tidal window working will be considered based on the outstanding emergency works required.”

Adur and Worthing Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee will consider a report on the situation next Tuesday (January 11).

The 2021/22 reactive maintenance budget for the pier landing is £179,460.

Officers explained how the emergency works of £125,000 will be charged against this existing maintenance budget and it is not expected that additional funding will be required.