January 24, 2022

It seems like years since we have been able to use the entire length of the state pier in Gulf Shores, AL- and the real situation that makes so many upset is that a 2 million dollar renovation had just been completed when Hurricane Sally slammed the Alabama gulf coast severely damaging the pier- and collapsed about 200 feet of the last half.

It's been a long time since anyone has been on the popular "Octagon" at the end of the Gulf Shores State pier. The pier originally closed on May 11, 2020 for crews to begin a 2.4 million dollar renovation project to the popular fishing and tourist spot. Boasting new features like a new observation platform on the "Octagon" with a handicap elevator, new railing system, and Ipe decking system that would last years of salt/ sun/ rain- as well as completely renovated restroom, offices, and concession/ store- it would greatly benefit everyone who utilizes it. However, many were upset the work was scheduled to run through a busy time of the fishing season. The original completion date was set for July of that year. Then setbacks postponed the opening until September. We got a few glimpses of the new rails, decking, observation deck from pictures shared of the construction- and everyone waited in anticipation for the scheduled ribbon cutting to take place September 16, 2020 at 10:00AM.

However, no anglers- no tourists- and no opening ceremony would take place, and no one would experience the features of the remodeled pier.

On the night of September 15, 2020, Hurricane Sally made an unexpected turn eastward and slammed into the Alabama/ Florida Gulf Coast. We were all caught off guard as late Tuesday night we watched forecasters report the now approaching storm. A mere 16 years to the day after Hurricane Ivan devastated the same area, Sally made landfall on the morning of Wednesday, September 16, 2020- about 5:00AM. In the process of slowly moving into and through the area, she managed to severely damage the pier, and knocking out the last 200 feet completely.

Our last information on the reconstruction of the state pier, earlier this month, was it is still in the permitting phase. Alabama State Parks expects to get the permits cleared shortly, to start taking bids for the job by the end of February, and a plan for construction to have begun by May, 2022. With all the work that has to be completed, we expect it would probably be near the end of the year before the entire pier will be ready for re-opening.

At this point, we do not have any information if the construction process will require any, or all of the currently open section of the pier to be closed- but it will likely depend on the work to be done, the contractor's recommendations as far as safety of the general public.

On the positive side, at least the pier was able to partially open a year ago. Also, this rebuilding project seems to be going much quicker than when Hurricane Ivan destroyed much of the pier in 2004- leaving it closed for about 5 years!

As we are able to provide more information on the rebuilding process for the state pier, we will share it with you.