By Associated Press - Saturday, October 17, 2020

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (AP) - Sunday marks the start of an extended closure of the iconic Edwin S. Taylor Folly Beach Fishing Pier in South Carolina.

The span will close at 10 p.m. Sunday for a two-year replacement project, The Post and Courier reported.

A Lowcountry landmark since 1995, the pier has since become heavily damaged by shipworms. Building a new pier would be a better long-term solution than continuously repairing damaged pilings, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission decided.

Mayor Tim Goodwin said it’s going to be great to see the new pier in place for, hopefully, 30 or 40 years of use.

“You know, it’ll be a good addition,” Goodwin said. “I know we’ll all miss the pier while it’s not there, but just remember: There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’ll be a good addition to the community.”

The new pier will have traditional wood decking and rails. Concrete piles underneath will hold up better in the ocean environment, according to Bruce Wright, Charleston County Parks’ senior project manager.

The structure will look a lot like the current one, with fishing stations and an architectural diamond at the end. In addition, the new pier will include obstructed 360-degree views of the ocean, more covered fishing areas and better pedestrian access.

Construction on the new 1,039-foot (317-meter) structure will occur in phases, and officials said it is scheduled to open in spring 2023. The project will cost $14 million.

The extended closure is disappointing to some of the pier’s most loyal fishermen. Wayne Spooner of Hanahan said he has been fishing at the pier for about three years. He was upset when he heard it would be closed for two years.

“I was (angry), to be quite frank,” Spooner said. “I mean, but hey, it is what it is, right?”

Spooner’s plan is to be at the pier every day until it closes. A special catch is what draws him.

“The redfish run up and down this thread here this time of year,” Spooner said. “So everybody - you’ll see a bunch of guys out here some days when it gets a little bit cooler, and every slot will have a pole in it.”

Daily fishing from the pier costs $5 for adults. Children 12 and under and seniors 60 or older pay $3. Discounts are given for groups of 10 or more.

Sarah Reynolds, a spokeswoman for PRC, said fencing has already gone up on the pier area and the parking lot in preparation for the construction to begin. A construction trailer and a crane have been placed nearby, and consultants have been surveying and taking photos for precondition assessments, she said.

“On Oct. 19, Cape Romain (the construction contractor) will start demo-ing the ‘apron’ section of the pier, and the pier parking lot will close at that time, as well as beach access from the pier property,” Reynolds said through an email.

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