Public piers at Eagle Lake will need extensive repairs

Published 8:07 pm Monday, September 23, 2019

An assessment of the courtesy piers at the public boat ramp at Eagle Lake indicates they will need extensive repairs before being returned to service, Warren County supervisors learned Monday.

Capt. Tracy Tullos, district supervisor for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, discussed the condition of the piers at a Monday work session.

He said both piers — one 80 feet long and the other 60 feet long — were removed from their pilings by county road crews as a precaution during the 2019 flood. The piers usually sit on either side of the boat ramp. Both, he said, are presently sitting at the overflow parking area at the boat ramp.

The 80-foot pier, which he identified as the port side pier, has three 20-foot sections and a 20-foot ramp, while the 60-foot pier, identified as the starboard side pier, has two 20-foot sections and a 20-foot ramp.

Tullos said the decking on each pier needs to be replaced either with treated lumber or composite deck boards. The present decking, he said, is past its service.

“When these structures were originally built, they had southern yellow pine on them,” he said. “As all of you probably are aware, over time and in the water and in the elements, pine does not last very long.

“Combined between being out on the lake for a number of years and then the flood beating and banging across these structures for multiple months on in, (it) has pretty much done them in from a structural standpoint from the pine,” he said.

The decking material, he said, is beginning to splinter and come apart.

“This is not very good from a public use standpoint,” he said. “It’s going to create hazards real soon.”

Tullos said the structures on which the decks sit are galvanized aluminum, adding his assessment indicated no problems to aluminum structures.

He said hinges connecting the ramps with the first sections of both piers were damaged and needs to be straightened and welded back in place.

Other problems included replacing boat cleats that allow people to secure their boats to the piers, pier-to-pier connection bars and repairing or replacing floats that allow the piers to adjust to the level of the water.

If the floats are not replaced, he said, they will take on water and eventually break away from the bolts securing them.

Tullos did not have an estimate on repairs or possibly replacing the structures. He said he would MEECO Sullivan LLC, which built the piers to get information on parts and comparison costs for replacing the decking with a composite material instead of wood, and the cost of repair versus replacement.

He said the board would have some time to reach a decision. The present level of Eagle Lake is 70 feet and needs to be deeper to replace the piers.

“In order to accommodate the floating piers, for those piers to float correctly, it’s going to take a good bit of water to flow back into the lake, because what you’ve got is a concrete walkway at one level and the water at another elevation, and so the piers would just be hanging off the concrete walkway at this time.

“We couldn’t put them back now, even if we had them restored,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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