Avon and Rodanthe piers
recovering from Sandy’s wallop
ANNE C. BOWERS
waves and large fields of debris in the ocean delivered punishing blows
to both Rodanthe and Avon piers last month. Both structures
experienced significant damage at the hand of Superstorm
Oddly, the weary Frisco pier, which has been closed for several years,
suffered little damage and reported the loss of only one, maybe two,
“The ocean was crushing,” said Scott Truesdale, one the three new
owners of Hatteras Island Fishing Pier in Rodanthe.
Pier lost about 80 feet during the storm in addition to two
side-by-side pilings that supported a section of the surviving
platform. Truesdale said the 12-inch-square pilings were
off like they had been hit by something really large.
also lost their recently rebuilt and newly landscaped dunes along with
their irrigation system. These dunes were built to protect
parking lot and access to the pier.
Avon Pier also suffered
damage at the end of it. The T-shaped end cap lost two pieces
from the middle section but the sides remained intact. The
overall length of the pier remains the same. Pier manager
Mathews believes they lost eight pilings and is waiting for the water
to clear before determining how the pilings broke.
Following the storm, a crane was out on the Avon pier clearing up some
broken pieces to prevent any further damage.
The businesses had no damage to their pier houses.
had tied everything down and boarded the windows,” said Truesdale, but
he was surprised that the pier sustained so much damage. “It
wasn’t the wind that we were worried about. It was the
feels that Avon Pier will remain closed until Easter for many
reasons. Difficult travel conditions are keeping visitors
and making it nearly impossible to get the lumber needed to repair the
“We usually close Dec. 1 anyway,” said Mathews.
to the storm, the new owners of Rodanthe pier had already contracted
for work on the pier beginning on Oct. 1. Even though the
contractor was running behind, most of the lumber which included 19
pilings, was already on site. The heavy equipment needed to
the work was already sitting in Nags Head.
“It kinda worked
out,” Truesdale said about the timing. “As soon as he can get
rig on the island, we will start.” Currently, it is expected
arrive at the pier by Nov. 17.
They were considering changing
the shape of the Rodanthe pier when rebuilding, citing that the T-shape
is not as strong as a hexagon or octagon shape. They won’t
for sure until they start working on it.
that they have enough material on hand to build 95 feet of new
pier. The repair permit limits the amount of square footage
not the specific length of the pier.
Scott Truesdale and his
partners, Terry Plumblee and Mark McCarraher, bought the bank-owned
Rodanthe pier back in the spring from First South Bank. They
friends who had fished the pier for almost 20 years and had often joked
about owning it. Years later, their musings turned into
first summer was great, Truesdale said. The owners saw a lot of growth
in a short time. Didn’t hurt that the fishing was
fantastic. They were pleased by the support from the local
community as well as the CAMA folks, the National Park Service, and
Chicamacomico Fire Department and Water Rescue, which used the pier
beach to launch rescue vehicles and the parking lot for ambulance
Truesdale, Plumblee and McCarraher invested $50,000 into
a new parking lot and protective dunes with an irrigation system to
promote quick growth of dune-strengthening vegetation such as sea
oats. The partners did much of the work themselves, such the
general cleaning up and building the sand fence.
of the dunes began about a week after the Hurricane Sandy, and they
were working towards opening back up as quickly as possible, hoping to
capture the last little bit of business they could before closing down
for winter after Thanksgiving.
They got the pier open in
time for Veteran’s Day weekend with the dunes rebuilt, rock on the
parking area, and the end of the dock barricaded for safety.
most businesses, this was a slow Veteran’s Day, but Rodanthe Pier was
open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. for anglers.
Truesdale said that
the owners hope to expand the food service by 2013, in addition to
remodeling the bathrooms and the inside of the pier house.
“We hope to represent everyone, not just fishermen,” he said.
though Avon Pier isn’t open, the surrounding beaches have been dotted
with fishermen who were enjoying some fabulous fishing.
of the storm shortened season, Mathews said that the Avon Pier had a
great season. Like many island businesses, they needed that
boost of business in October and November, which is locally considered
“The storm has been hard on everybody,” concluded Mathews.
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