Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier to be Demolished
LEWES, Del. - Part of the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park in eastern Sussex County will be demolished.
Crews will dismantle and remove one section of the 1,800-foot-long structure that is collapsing into the Delaware Bay, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
"Over years of use and storm issues and weather conditions, it's deteriorated," said park superintendent Paul Faircloth.
The damaged section has been closed to the public since 2006, according to DNREC. The state decided to remove the broken part, which is expected to cost about $500,000, rather than replace it.
"Rebuilding is going to cost a lot more money than tearing it down will," Faircloth said. "Our estimates from several years ago were as much as $15 million, and they were estimates, but we had to weigh the costs and benefits of that."
The pier, which was built by the U.S. Army around World War II, is a popular destination for fishermen. Demolition is expected to take place from a barge and should not impact fishing, Faircloth said. The main section of the T-shaped structure was part of several rehabilitation projects over the last five years, according to DNREC. The rest of the pier will remain open during demolition.
"I think they ought to tear it down and rebuild another one," said fisherman Frank Harrison of New Castle.
Harrison and other fishermen said the pier's growing popularity has left little space to cast a line in prime spots. He said a rebuild would give visitors more room.
"There's a lot more people coming to the beach, a lot more people fishing and it's getting awful crowded right here where this is," said Harrison.
The state wants to remove the damaged pier before the arrival of winter storms. Navigation is another concern. DNREC said broken pieces falling off the structure could pose a threat for ships traveling nearby, such as the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Work could begin by the end of the week, Faircloth said.