North Point State Park’s Crystal Pier project under way
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 12:25

Project seeks to remedy past erosion damage

by John G. Bailey

    The restoration of the Crystal Pier at North Point State Park has finally commenced, and not a moment too soon.
    The 1,000-foot earthen pier, a favorite for fisherman, had been rendered nearly impassable by erosion caused by over a century of waves, wind and rain. When Tropical Storm Isabel nearly destroyed it in 2003, restoration became an imperative.
    The General Assembly allocated $1.368 million for the project in 2011, but implementation was delayed last year due to an uncertain fiscal environment.
    Coastal Design and Construction of Gloucester, Va, the contractor for the project, got permission to start from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in October. Construction manager Greg Gardy summarized the job ahead in a telephone interview with The Eagle.
    More than a facelift but less than a total remake, the project will reconstruct the original pier with new and stronger materials.    
    After the initial step of transporting materials to the site and setting up erosion control measures is completed, the mish-mash of slag and concrete chunks that makes up the old revetment will be replaced with armor stones, each weighing between 800 and 1,800 pounds. The revetment forms the bulwark that protects the earthen pier.

In the next step, the pier  itself will be raised to its original level using dirt as fill material. Currently, what remains of the eroded earthen pier is held in place by little more than weeds.
    Conditions for fishermen will be improved with the construction of a 20- by-40-foot precast concrete fishing structure slated for the end of the pier in a subsequent phase of the project.
    After the heavy construction is finished, a 12-foot -wide path will be laid along the axis of the pier using pervious pavers. Two 12-foot greenways flanking both sides of the walkway will complete the pier’s surface.         During construction, the pier and the adjoining water access area are off limits to visitors.
    The project was scheduled during fall and winter months when fewer people visit North Point State Park.
    Gardy said he is aware of the popularity of the pier and the urgency of getting the project done as quickly as possible. Coastal Design and Construction was given a 270-day contract to complete the renovation, starting from Oct. 21. But Gardy is hoping to finish the project in spring ahead of time — “if mother nature cooperates,” he added.
    Crystal Pier was originally one of the attractions at Bay Shore Amusement Park, which first opened at the site in 1906. The park closed in 1947. The state of Maryland bought the land in 1987 from Bethlehem Steel for the creation of North Point State Park.