Pier at Aquatic Park deteriorating 

More than a thousand people crowd San Francisco’s popular pier at Aquatic Park to watch the Blue Angels roar overhead during Fleet Week, or ooh and ah over the Fourth of July fireworks. But the pier has deteriorated so much that it will now be off-limits during these big events, according to the National Park Service.

The so-called Municipal Pier is in such poor shape, with corroded and damaged pilings, that large crowds could cause sections of it to collapse, according to a report issued March 14 by San Francisco-based engineering consultant Winzler and Kelly. The report says that the pier can only withstand a weight of 50 pounds per square foot.

"It’s fairly grim," National Park Service spokesman Lynn Cullivan said of the report’s findings. "It’s kind of been going downhill for years, I guess."

The 1,400-foot-long and 60-foot-wide pier is a historiclandmark that curves out into the Bay waters and is part of the federal National Park Service’s San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. The pier was transferred from the city to the National Park Service in 1978.

"Anything with a big crowd is definitely a no-no at this point. It’s too bad," Cullivan said. The pier is not seismically sound so a large crowd could "simulate a seismic event," he said.

The park service has not made any decisions about closures of the pier that would impact the people who like to go out there and fish or just walk along the pier, according to Cullivan.

"Municipal Pier is an important structure due its historic status, tourism and recreational use, as well as providing protection from waves and tidal currents for the shoreline of Aquatic Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and the adjacent piers and waterfront structures," the report said.

Cullivan said that the National Park Service is looking to secure funding to repair the pier and is seeking money from the local, state and federal governments. To repair the pier and make it seismically sound would cost between $27 million and $32.9 million, according to the report. A complete replacement of the pier would cost $57.6 million. Mayor Gavin Newsom’s spokesman, Nathan Ballard, said, "We will be working with the National Park Service and Supervisor Aaron Peskin [whose district includes the pier] to improve conditions on the pier."

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