A MAJOR milestone has been reached in the restoration of South Parade Pier as complex work begins to reinforce the ageing structure.
Enough concrete to cover 200sq m was pumped through a pipe from the promenade on to each side at the back of the Southsea attraction yesterday.
The News was given a tour of the pier to see how things have taken shape since officially coming under new ownership in the new year.
A team of 25 workers got up at the crack of dawn to lead the operation as work continued on the repair and replacement of steel frames.
Tommy Ware Jnr, who owns the pier with his father Tommy Snr and their business partner Lawrence Mendel, said: ‘It makes us feel proud of the job we are doing.
‘Our main priority since day one has been to get the structure sound before concentrating on any exterior work. Obviously, that is going to be the next step. We couldn’t be more pleased with how things have gone.’
Once the concrete sets, ‘load testing’ will take place in the coming weeks on the back to ensure the structure is capable of holding a large weight.
Large basins will be filled with sea water.
Project co-ordinator Malcolm Belcher said: ‘This is a significant operation, and it’s a major milestone for the pier.
‘The east and western hips suffered major structural damage in the storms as well as age deterioration.
‘The reinstatement of the decks binds the structure together and reinforces its rigidity.’
Chief structural engineer Steve Penfold said: ‘What we have seen here is the visual aspect of seven months’ hard work.’
It is hoped the front of the pier will be open by the Easter and the ambition is for the back end to be in use when the America’s Cup World Series takes place off Portsmouth’s shores.