DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation announced today that the historic Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier will reopen Friday afternoon at approximately 4:30 p.m. for the Labor Day weekend and of course for what anglers who’ve frequented the pier for decades call its “fantastic fall fishing.” The pier and surrounding surf-fishing opportunities make Cape Henlopen State Park the most popular fishing destination in Delaware, and after a spring and summer closure for repairs, DNREC worked to get the pier reopened ahead of its projected construction schedule.
The pier was closed late last year due to engineering concerns about the structural int
egrity of the pilings that it sits on. In April, the piling repair project was awarded through competitive bid to Commerce Construction of Bridgeport, N.J. This week the contractor completed $400,000 of repairs to approximately 108 pilings, wrapping up the first phase of the pier’s latest renovation project. The second phase entails decking replacement and various repairs to the pier’s superstructure and fencing – it will again be competitively bid, with work done over the winter to minimize impact on recreational fishing
The Cape Henlopen Fishing pier was originally built by the Army to serve Fort Miles during World War II. The pier is now over 70 years old and, according to DNREC’s consulting engineers, has long outlived it useful life expectancy. The pier has had repairs made in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2012. In 2008, 18 pilings were repaired and 101 additional pilings were repaired in 2009. This latest renovation project is expected to extend the life span of the pier for two to five years and is the largest repair to date undertaken by Delaware State Parks. Division of Parks & Recreation/Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens acknowledged that “this is still only a short-term solution for the iconic and very popular pier” and capital funds have been requested for the planning of a replacement structure.
Director Bivens also commended State Representative and Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf, along with State Reps. Steve Smyk and Timothy Dukes, and State Senator Ernie Lopez for helping to expedite the pier’s reopening by contributing Community Transportation Funds to assist Delaware State Parks with the project.
Anglers using the pier from the Labor Day weekend forward are reminded that the privately-operated park concession Lighthouse View Bait & Tackle Shop will reopen in the spring of 2016, with anglers advised until then to buy their bait and supplies associated with pier fishing prior to entering Cape Henlopen State Park.