SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Ground breaking on construction on the Surfside Beach Pier took place at 11 a.m. Monday.

Construction on the pier has been in the works for the past four years after it was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Ground breaking was originally set to take place on November 30, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Dozens of residents gathered at the pier. Among the crowd her state and local leaders who believe the pier not only represents the entire town, but also the unity.

“This is a historic day not only for Surfside, but for the people of South Carolina,” Tom Keegan said.

Keegan coming from the office of congressman tom rice was one of many officials who broke ground at the site on Monday.

“We are proud to have been be small part of the effort to restore this beautiful pier that has been here for so many years,” Keegan said.

The pier has been a long-standing attraction of the beach since 1953. Since then, mother-nature took its course damaging the pier five times.

Four years ago residents witnessed the latest hurricane damage. “In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew destroyed almost 50% of the pier,” Surfside Mayor Bob Hellyer explained.

Consensus Construction was delegated the $14.6 million project in September and will mark the start of a long-awaited project for people in the town of Surfside Beach. Surfside Beach received more than $9 million in federal aid from FEMA to help with reconstruction.

Rep. Russell Fry said none of this would be possible without state and local leaders working together.

“The pier really is a symbol of what can happen when people work together for the good of something else better than themselves,” Fry explained. “And no better symbol than that the pier that will be constructed behind me,” he said.

The pier will take about 18 months to complete. Many long-residents like Christ Stamey couldn’t hold in their excitement.

“It’s underway. And I thank our representatives who were here,  our council members, our past council members. I’m really waiting to see it start up now,” Stamey said.

The new pier is expected to be identical to the old one, only ten feet higher. All businesses on the pier have closed during reconstruction.