Will the Martinez Pier be closed?

Ken Jones

Staff member


City To Consider Closing Popular Fishing Pier For Repairs

Bay City News Service

Oct. 6, 2020

By Sam Richards

Bay City News Foundation


Marvin Aguilar has a favorite place to relax -- it's near home and on the Carquinez Strait.

"It's the main thing I do for my enjoyment, and after work, you just need to relax," said Aguilar, of Martinez, as he took a silver lure out of his tackle box Tuesday morning and prepared to use it for casting for striped bass. He said he's been coming to the Martinez fishing pier once or twice a week for 35 years.

But Aguilar and other people who come to the wooden pier to fish, take walks and sit and gaze across the Strait toward Benicia may soon have to find a new place to commune with the water, as the city is considering closing the pier to the public after a study found the structure needs significant maintenance work.

And that's only above the water line -- a dive team is scheduled to work this weekend to determine whatever damage there may be underwater down to the mud.

Given these concerns about the pier's structural integrity, both city staff and consulting firm COWI Marine North America recommend closing the pier "within the coming weeks."

The Martinez City Council could decide at its regular meeting Wednesday night to close the pier, at least until repairs are made. Jim Kearney, project manager and senior marine engineer for COWI Marine, will attend Wednesday night to discuss his firm's findings about the fishing pier.

In a related effort, the City Council, as soon as Wednesday night, could also approve pursuing a California Department of Parks and Recreation grant to fund the renovation of the fishing pier and additional related improvements.

The grant application is due Dec. 14, and will require several public workshops (likely via Zoom). It would also require significant city staff time, with involvement by the city's Parks, Recreation, Marina, and Cultural Commission and its Parks and Waterfront Subcommittee.

Michael Chandler, Martinez's deputy city manager, said some $395 million is to be distributed in this round of Prop 68 funding, but that demand is high, "and the process is extremely competitive." In the previous funding round, he said, almost $255 million went out to 52 grant recipients, out of 478 applications.

The pier was first built in 1934, adjacent to what was at that time the slip for a vehicle ferry boat that connected Martinez and Benicia. Parts of the pier were rebuilt in 1976. Since the late 1970s, a city report says, the pier has experienced "natural degradation to both its topside and substructure."

A significant portion of the westernmost end of the pier was damaged by fire in August 2014, requiring about $35,000 worth of repairs.

In December, the city spent about $34,000 on a detailed study by COWI Marine North America of the pier's condition. The city received the Martinez Fishing Pier Above Water Inspection Report on July 17.

The report details several spots deemed to be "serious" structural problems, and others as in "severe" condition. COWI Marine also recommends a thorough pile inspection by a qualified team of divers, including a registered professional engineer diver, to accurately locate and document all defects including those below the waterline and down to the mudline, given that several significant defects were spotted above the waterline.

COWI Marine estimates the above-the-waterline repairs, including an allowance for pile repairs, will cost about $800,000. Another $25,000 is set to be spent on the dive inspection to evaluate the condition of the underwater pilings down to the mudline, and determine the potential cost for those repairs, Chandler said. That dive is scheduled for this weekend.

"Having the marine engineer's projected cost information on hand in this detail is beneficial for the grant process, as it will make it possible for us to quantify the funding required to complete the renovation," Chandler said in an email.

Martinez expects to receive about $200,000 from a separate state Prop 68 grant fund, Chandler said, which could be used toward the pier or related things.

While Aguilar said he doesn't want to have to drive to Antioch, Pittsburg or Crockett to go fishing, Jorge Quintero of Pittsburg said he would rather make the drive to Martinez than fish closer to home. He was with his girlfriend Jazmin Guzman on the Martinez pier Tuesday morning, ready to go after stripers.

"You get the 'Oakland water' over here, and that means more fish," said Qunitero. "I don't want to have to go to Port Costa or Eckley Pier (near Crockett)."

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Red Fish

Senior Member
I wonder if they are to close before February? There is always the Diamond Classic kids’ derby mid January with some kids on the pier.
Looks like the follow up is that they are not closing it immediately: https://patch.com/california/martinez/martinez-fishing-pier-remain-open-now

MARTINEZ, CA— Saying they don't want to close off a popular public amenity unless absolutely necessary, the Martinez City Council on Wednesday night voted to move quickly to make stopgap repairs to the city's deteriorating fishing pier.

The council also directed city staff to pursue a state grant that could potentially cover the cost of lasting fixes estimated to cost at least $800,000.

While City Attorney Jeff Walter told the council the safest course of action with the pier would be "shutting it down right now," Mayor Rob Schroder and other council members said they would rather hold off on that at least until a dive crew does a thorough pile inspection beneath water level. A crew is set to do that inspection this coming Saturday and Sunday.