Atlantic City closes Garden Pier

May 5, 2009 3:55:21 PM PDT
Officials are investigating possible structural problems.

The pier, which was built in 1913, is located at New Jersey Avenue and the boardwalk and is home to the Atlantic City Art Center and Historical Museum.

It was closed yesterday after the mayor received a report and letter from an engineer hired by Revel Entertainment. Engineers from the city and a private firm are examining the supports to determine the possible extent of damage. The pier will remain closed until the engineers determine it is structurally sound.

"The report did say that the findings of this professional were based on a limited visual inspection," said Mayor Lorenzo Langford. "But in a capacity such as mine, you have to err on the side of caution."

John McNally is with the Alaimo Group, which has been hired by the city. McNally said he and city engineer John Feairheller are looking for "signs of major distress in the structure either above or the below the pier. We're looking for indications that the members don't have their load-bearing capacity. We basically have just started. We haven't seen any indications of it yet."

Langford said, "We wanted to make sure that we provided the safest environment while we get a second and third opinion."

Garden Pier is across the boardwalk from the multi-billion dollar Revel casino project. For sure the ocean side half of the pier is an eyesore. But it's been this way since a hurricane ravaged it in the 1940's. The boardwalk side, however, houses the museum that draws about one hundred people a day and employs eight people.

"We had them relocated to other jobs," said Atlantic City Business Administrator Michael Scott. "So no one was laid off, or is unemployed."

Engineers say the pier is no imminent danger of collapse.

The mayor said he was puzzled as to why Revel engineers were doing a visual inspection of the city-owned Garden Pier. Our calls to the engineering firm were not returned.

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