NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Fort Hale Park in New Haven attracts a lot of people for fishing. There’s just one issue — the pier there has been out of service for several years now.
“We lost a lot of our shore and we certainly lost a lot of this pier,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
The pier was badly damaged back in 2011 during Hurricane Irene. The following year, Superstorm Sandy made matters worse as it battered the Connecticut coast, rendering the pier unusable. However, that will soon change. An official groundbreaking was held Wednesday morning. Construction is about to start on a brand new pier.
“It’s actually more cost effective to take out pilings and start fresh because we don’t know the status of the current structure,” said Giovanni Zinn, engineer for the City of New Haven.
The project is being paid for with $1.8 million in state and federal grants. This is money that was secured back in 2015. During Wednesday’s ground breaking, a great deal of credit was given to State Senator Martin Looney for his involvement in the project.
The new pier will look much different than the old one. Residents, who use the area often for fishing and recreation, were able to weigh in during public planning.
“The new pier is actually going to be slightly longer. It’s going to be 360 feet,” said Zinn. The big difference is it’s going to have a 140 foot T-head at the end that will provide much more space for fishing.”
Improvements will also be made to the area, in the event of another powerful storm.
“We’re also doing some shore sustainability so that if we have another storm it won’t have a negative impact like Irene and Superstorm Sandy,” said Mayor Harp.
Construction is expected to take six months. The pier will be available for fishing in the spring of 2018.