The Texas Department of Transportation has announced the demolition of the Copano Bay Fishing Pier will begin Monday, Aug. 31.
The pier, which was once the causeway, was closed to the public in 2017 after a short section collapsed into the water.
A short time later, after consulting with Aransas County and the Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) officials, it was decided the iconic pier should be closed permanently.
A structural survey, performed after the collapse, found the remaining standing portions of the fishing pier were in significantly distressed condition, and the spans that collapsed were “evidence the structure can collapse with little notice.”
The $2.7 million demolition project is estimated to take about nine months to complete. It includes the removal of the pilings and timber structure of the 89-year-old pier, and the removal of the small buildings at both ends of the pier.
Demolition work is scheduled to begin on the south end of the pier, and should not affect the public boat ramp, which will remain open.
The causeway opened in 1931. A new concrete causeway was constructed in 1967, which allowed the wooden causeway to be used as a fishing pier.
In a story published in the Aug. 16, 2017 edition of The Rockport Pilot, ACND Harbor Master Keith Barrett recalled events leading up to the section of the pier collapsing.
He said the pier concessionaire contacted him (June 8, 2017) telling him there was “something odd” he wanted Barrett to see.
“While the trash was being emptied an employee noticed a dip in the pier’s surface,” said Barrett.
The ACND, in an abundance of caution, barricaded off that portion of the pier, between the “imperfection” and the north end of the southern portion of the pier.
Those fishing north of the “imperfection” were asked to move south, and behind the barricade.
“That evening that section gave way and fell into the bay,” said Barrett. “I’m glad we took the action we did.”
The second causeway, which was removed to make room for the new causeway, was located right next to the fishing pier (original causeway).
“There was a lot of pounding going on in the vicinity of the pier (during demolition of the second causeway),” said Barrett. “We know there were a few (minor) barge strikes (on the fishing pier).”
(Note: Within two hours of the news being posted on The Pilot’s Facebook page, almost 10,000 people learned of the pier’s fate.)