Kenner plans to repair pier damaged in Isaac

Kenner officials are looking spend more than $288,000 to repair a concrete fishing pier in the city’s Laketown that was damaged by the old wooden pier it was built to replace.

The Kenner City Council is scheduled to consider accepting a bid at its May 2 meeting from Task Force LLC of Baton Rouge for the repair work.

Although Kenner would spend $288,425 on the work, the city expects to receive a $216,000 reimbursement from Federal Emergency Management Agency because the fishing pier was damaged during Hurricane Isaac.

Chief Administrative Officer Mike Quigley said the contractor must replace several concrete panels, railings and pilings at the pier. In addition, repairs need to be made to electrical equipment on the structure. City officials have not released a time frame for the repair work.

In a strange twist, the concrete pier actually was damaged by the old wooden pier that was initially damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Kenner built the $1.3 million concrete pier in 2010 to avoid the hassle of having to replace a wooden pier after a hurricane and used a combination of local and federal dollars.

At the time, city officials argued that a concrete pier would be more immune to damage from storms.

However, while the city was waiting for the concrete pier to be built, it constructed an interim wooden pier so that fishers would have a place to use, Quigley said.

He said that when Isaac came into the area, it caused that pier to break apart and slam into the new concrete structure. The city has been working with FEMA to get approval for reimbursement for the damage.

“It was actually caused by the demolition by the hurricane,” Quigley said.

He expects that this will be the last time the city has to make substantial improvements to the pier because the concrete structure won’t have any other piers crashing into it in the future. Quigley said the hurricane’s winds and water caused little damage.

“Relatively speaking, (the pier) did a lot better,” he said.

In addition to repairs at the fishing pier, Kenner officials also are trying to finalize a plan for repairing the city’s Laketown boat launch. That boat launch sustained damage from commercial boats tying up there as contractors went to work on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects nearby. Although the city bars commercial boats from docking there, several of the corps’ subcontractors ignored that guideline, according to Councilman Keith Reynaud.

Reynaud said he believes the city is going to make the repairs to the boat launch on its own and seek reimbursement from the responsible contractors. Although Reynaud initially estimated those repairs at $200,000, he said it makes more sense for the city to get things fixed now rather than waiting for a third party to correct the problem.

“We’re working on it; that’s in the works,” Reynaud said. “I’m still pushing that we need to be reimbursed by the subcontractors who were doing the work.”

Quigley said the city’s attorneys are still trying to determine the responsible parties and contact them about repayments.

He said he hopes the city may be able to secure some grant money to do the work.

“Ideally, we don’t have to pay for it,” Quigley said. “Worse come to worse, we’re going to pay for it with city funds.”