Demolition is scheduled from Oct. 12-30, should take three weeks
Bodega Bay’s old Meredith Pier will soon be just a concrete slab going into the bay. The weathered pier is falling apart and casting debris out into the water, prompting the county to embark on a million dollar demolition project.
“This is a big deal and I recognize for a lot of folks this has a little bit of a mixed emotion. There’s a sense of history that the Meredith Wharf brought and a lot of people have shared their feelings and their memories of what this meant to them,” Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said during a fifth district town hall hosted by the county on Sept. 17.
The memories don’t negate the hazard that the pier brings to the area, however, with debris falling into the bay from the decrepit area. The space has also seen trespassers and it presents a safety hazard, Hopkins said.
Mike Volatile, project manager for the project, said that the pier is so unstable that they can’t go out onto the side that faces the water. Rather, any photos they have of the area have to be taken from the water or from a drone.
When asked if any remediation for the materials that have fallen into the bay will occur, Volatile said that he hasn’t seen very many materials at the bottom around the pier while surveying it at low tide, but that the contractor is responsible for picking up debris that he can safely access. Once the contractor is done, the county will perform a biological assessment survey.
As demolition occurs, there will be a floating net meant to catch material that may fall from the outermost part of the pier as well as a containment boom.
According to Volatile, the original construction was built on top of fill material with part of the area on the land side of the pier on top of a heavy concrete slab (the slab is about the size of the building on the pier).
“We’ll be able to actually drive trucks and heavy excavation equipment onto the pier and kind of reach into the perimeter of the building and pull it in,” Volatile said. As such, demolition crews will start from the front of the building and work their way in toward the land.
The work schedule for the project spans three weeks and will be Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Volatile, two workers will be designated to control traffic and various construction-related signage will be put up by the contractor to help with traffic control.
Hazardous materials abatement for the project is scheduled to begin Oct. 5 and demolition is scheduled to begin Oct. 12. The demolition is scheduled to be done after three weeks, on Oct. 30, and the project is supposed
“Hopefully if all goes well, by the end of October we will have a completed project,” Volatile said. “The building is really what we’re demoing and any deteriorated and damaged and dilapidated materials are also going to be removed. We are going to leave anything that’s essentially stable.”
The concrete slab, as well as pilings that are embedded into the bay floor will be left. Volatile said that once demolition is done, they will put up a fence to discourage people from walking out onto the concrete slab.
The removal project will cost the county roughly $1.1 million.
Though there are no plans for how to develop the area where the pier stands, county communications manager Michelle Ling said that she hopes the blank cement slab will encourage people to think about the history of the pier, as well as look forward to what they may want to see there in the future.
Additionally, she noted that the county has talked to Creative Sonoma about the possibility of incorporating community connection and possibly community art in the space.
“We don’t want it to just disappear and have nothing left. We want to have something that is a nod to the rich heritage of the place, says something about our cool project and then suggests something about the future,” Ling said.
“This whole space is something that could be a focal point to let the community start to think about strategically what are we going to do with this piece of the coast and how do we want to be stewards of the land, have visitors here, share the space but also protect the space,” Ling said, noting that for now, the funds and scope of work for the current project only cover its demolition.