MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Construction crews began replacing South Pointe Pier Monday.
The $4.8 million project includes designated fishing areas, non-fishing areas, additional seating, additional lighting, more shaded areas, and turtle safe lighting.
The new design is meant to resemble a telescope. It will be narrower close to land and widen as it expands out to the ocean.
"This is the gateway for all the ships that come in," said Fernando Vazquez with the city of Miami Beach. "They can get a chance to see it also from the ocean. The residents can see it from the beach."
The first pier on Miami Beach was built in the 1920s about two blocks north of the current one.
"I've never seen a good shot of the interior, so we don't know for sure if there were sleeping rooms, accommodations, but there were stores, there were other restaurants," said historian Seth Bramson.
By the 1960s, the bathing houses and shops were gone. In 1979, the current pier was built. It was closed to the public in 2004 because of deterioration, worn down over time from the salt water.
Engineers already relocated coral living underneath the pier ahead of construction starting.
Bramson said he hopes the new pier means as much to residents and visitors as it did in the past.
"Let's make it a very welcoming environment but in addition to that, let's give it historical flavors," he said.
The project is expected to take about one year.
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