Valhalla pier reconstruction to begin mid-October |

Valhalla pier reconstruction to begin mid-October

Hema Easley

The U.S. Forest Service has sought permission from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to reconstruct the Valhalla boat pier, which was damaged by a storm in 1997 and has been lying in disuse ever since.

Building is expected to start in mid-October, said Linda Massey, public affairs officer of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Although the TRPA-regulated building period ends Oct. 15, Massey said permission for the project was likely to be granted.

” We have applied for an exemption from TRPA. We are calling it a health and safety issue,” said Massey.

“We see no reason why permission will not be granted under the circumstances,” she said.

The TRPA did not return calls for comment.

The pier, initially built in 1923, was torn down and rebuilt in 1956 when a group of people formed South Tahoe Valhalla Corporation and sought to sell the Valhalla building as a time-share. The enterprise failed and the historic site was bought by the Forest Service.

In those days, the pier got a lot of use as people visiting the Tallac Historic Site by boat tied their vessels to it and walked over to the boathouse, an entertainment area, that began where the pier ended. Kids played on the pier and used it as a diving board to jump into the lake. Young lovers sat there to watch the sunset.

However, the 1997 New Year’s storm damaged its front and ended its use as a boat pier. Two years ago it was condemned by the Forest Service, which put up a fence and signs saying it was unsafe to go on the pier.

However, Linda Cole, curator of the Tallac Historic Site, said people jumped over the sign and continued to use the abandoned, decaying structure.

“We kept getting calls from people asking when it was going to be rebuilt,” Cole said.

Last month, the Forest service invited bids for rebuilding the pier. The contract went to Tahoe City-based Pacific Built construction company, which was among two companies which bid for the project.

Jim Marino, project manager of Pacific Built, said the size of the new pier will be the same as the old one, though some of the construction material will be different. Steel pilings will be used, and the wood will be Alaskan yellow cedar.

The cost of rebuilding the pier will be $230,000 and will be financed out of disaster funds received for the 1997 flood that damaged the front of the pier.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of November, said Marino.

“The project will take four to six weeks if we have good weather,” stated Marino. “Wind and wave action affect our building capacity.”

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