HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — It’s been about a year since Hurricane Ian made landfall on the Grand Strand, and Myrtle Beach State Park officials said after it hit, it only took a few weeks to get the pier 90% fixed and open to the public again.
However, the damage to the support beams was bad enough that one year later, the pier still isn’t fully open. Officials said that’s largely due to insurance, funding and construction delays.
Hurricane Ian took out piers from the North Strand all the way down to Georgetown, and many of them still haven’t recovered.
“It’s really, it’s kind of devastating when you look out there and you see this 100-200 foot gap between the part that you’re on and what you cannot get to on the other side,” said Robert Prince, a co-owner of Cherry Grove Pier.
Ian took a bite out of the middle of the pier.
“We had to take a boat out to the other section with the insurance adjusters to assess the damages out there so it’s kind of, you don’t know what you can’t see,” Prince said.
And in Myrtle Beach, the State Park saw some damage as well.
“Myrtle Beach State Park was actually pretty fortunate compared to other piers in the area,” said Sam Queen of the South Carolina Department of Recreation and Tourism. “We lost some boards, some railing and we did lose a piling and about five different cross beams.”
Further south in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park had more than 40 inches of floodwater from Ian.
“The salt water wasn’t washing in from the ocean, it was actually coming through the back door so to speak, washing in from the marsh,” Queen said. “So, any kind of wooden structures at Huntington Beach were basically lifted by the salt waters and floated away.”
Officials said it’s looking like the boardwalk near the Nature Center won’t be open to the public until 2024.
State Park officials in Myrtle Beach also think the pier should be completed by early 2024.