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Dock gets some TLC this summer

INDIANOLA — There will be a slight disruption this year to the usual carefree style of Indianola summers but it’s for the better of the community.

Access to Indianola’s 900-foot dock that juts out into Port Madison Bay will be restricted for about a month this summer, starting June 15, as much needed repairs take place.

A study of the structure was completed about a year and half ago, showing that many of the vertical stringers that support the boardwalk are “toe-nailed” into the pile caps, nails are rusting and several of the tops of the pilings are rotting.

“They looked at literally everything, every connection, every piece, (they) took hundreds of photos,” Port of Indianola commissioner John Jacobsen said of the engineers who conducted the study.

Based on the results, the port commissioners decided it was time to do another fix on the famous pier. The port plans to hire contractors Blackwater Marine of Kirkland to do the work. Renovation of the dock will begin June 16 and is expected to take a month.

Such work will include replacing the top three feet of several rotting pilings and installing additional support beams to stringers that brace the boardwalk.

Most of the work will be on the first 450 feet of the structure, although there will be some upgrades to the popular float and gangway at the end of the dock.

Reconstruction wasn’t completed earlier this year due to regulations, which prohibit work in the shoreline area between March and June, Jacobsen said.

The original dock was built in 1916 but was upgraded in 1938 for ferry service during the Mosquito Fleet days.

In 1950, the Agate Pass Bridge was completed and the ferry service to Indianola was discontinued, so the dock became a recreational facility. Cars were no longer allowed on the dock and “we don’t even like to see bicycles (today),” Jacobsen said.

In 1972, there was another major overhaul, including the replacement of some pilings. When a big storm hit the dock in the early 1980s portions were lifted by the enormous waves and torn apart.

However, the community salvaged the pieces of its beloved landmark and put it back to together “like a big jigsaw puzzle,” Jacobsen said.

The last big update was the replacement of some pilings about seven or eight years ago, he added.

Funding for the project comes from the property taxes the port collects. The commissioners have been saving up with the intention of paying for major dock repairs. Jacobsen said the port is doing the best it can to keep it safe for recreational use and asks that residents support the effort.

“We also have to remember we have to take care of this dock,” he explained, noting that people shouldn’t stand on the railings and should refrain from abusing the structure.

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