Southport Pier will be closed to the public until further notice as a result of extreme cold weather damage and ice.
Freezing temperatures, which are forecast to impact the Sefton coast for at least another week, has caused significant and unavoidable damage to the pier’s decking boards.
A build up of ice from coastal winds has also made the surface treacherous underfoot.
Following repeated inspections by Sefton Council and its contractors over the last 48 hours, a decision has now been taken to temporarily close Southport Pier.
It will remain closed until further notice.
Sefton Council announced earlier this year an ambitious project to replace more than 53 miles of decking boards along the iconic structure.
While the pier has undergone extensive repairs and refurbishments over the last 160 years, a £3 million project to replace the wooden decking along its entire 1.1km length was revealed recently by Sefton Council.
A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Council officers and contractors had hoped to ensure the Pier remained open to the public during these works. However the current extremely cold weather, which has seen temperatures so low that the sea at Ainsdale and
Birkdale froze in places, has caused additional damage to the decking.
“Moisture within the planks and joists has frozen causing the decking to lift away from its fixings and we are concerned this could present a safety issue to anyone attempting to walk down the pier.
“The decking has also become incredibly slippery, meaning it is treacherous to walk on.
“While we do not take this decision lightly, the temporary closure of Southport Pier is wholly necessary to keep people safe.
“We fully appreciate this may come as a blow to concessionaires on and around the pier however we are confident that they, like the council, would not want anyone to be put at risk of harm by venturing onto the pier in current conditions.”
Southport Pier will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. Regular inspections will take place and updates will be shared in due course.
Repairs to the Pier date back to as early as 1890 and during its long history it has fallen victim to incredibly powerful storm damage, boat crashes and numerous fires in the 19th and 20th century.
In 2018, extensive repairs and repainting works were carried out by Sefton Council to the Pier’s steelwork to combat corrosion from the sea.