Rye Pier Approach Reconstruction
Project stages and timing
Planning and design – August 2020 to May 2021
Tender for works – June to July 2021
Work commences – Early Spring 2021
Work completed - Early Autumn 2022
Project partner and funding
Department of Transport: The Rye Pier work is part of the Victorian Government’s $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages.
A section of Rye Pier will be rebuilt as part of the Victorian Government’s construction blitz to create new jobs across Victoria and ensure the pier can remain safe and open for visitors to enjoy. The $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages will support significant maintenance and safety upgrades to piers and jetties across Port Phillip and Western Port including Altona, Tooradin, Rye, Queenscliff South, Portarlington and Middle Brighton piers.
A complete rebuild of a 270 metre section of the pier walkway from the foreshore to before the low landing, and widening the deck from 3 metres to 4.2 metres (1.2 metres wider than current pier), will provide safer separation for pedestrians and vehicles and accommodate increasing visitation. A 600 millimetre lift in pier height at the rebuilt section will cater for future sea level rise. Using all timber materials, nearly 200 new piles and all new beams, crossheads, capping and decking will be installed to renew the structure while retaining the traditional character.
Other improvements will include construction of a ramp at the start of the pier and at the end, before the low landing, connecting with the existing lower pier head to ensure continued access in line with the pier height increase, more energy efficient solar lighting and steel handrails on both sides of the pier approach for improved safety.
Priority work to this section of pier will ensure access is maintained to the areas that will have the greatest benefit to the wider community for many years to come. Parks Victoria will continue to monitor the pier head condition to ensure community safety while future planning is undertaken.
Rye Pier is located in the town of Rye on the Mornington Peninsula in southern Port Phillip. Rye Pier was originally built in 1860 and then completely reconstructed in 1993-94 and is a popular destination for the local community and visitors. The pier is 360 metres long with an L shaped head. An accessible low landing was added on the eastern side in 2020, after the previous landing was damaged by storm and removed.
Today it is a popular sightseeing, fishing and swimming spot, featuring a low platform and seating for visitors. Rye Pier is an excellent day and night dive site offering beautiful underwater vistas and some of the warmest water in Port Phillip. There is a boat ramp nearby, a playground for the children and wide beaches for families to enjoy.
Although currently open for enjoyment, the pier is nearing the end of its design life and presenting signs of structural failure posing a risk to public safety. Engineering inspections identified several piles have failed which is compromising the load limits and structural integrity of the pier.
Funding has been committed by the Victoria Government under the $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages to make it safe, more durable and improve accessibility.
Access to the pier during works
Scheduling work to minimise impacts is a priority, however, people should be prepared for an extended disruption period.
A complete pier closure is necessary during the peak construction works. The closure will allow repairs to be done with minimal interruptions so that the pier can be reopened as quickly as possible and minimise further impacts to the community and marine life. Fencing and signage will be in place to communicate access restrictions.
General project timelines are that the final stages of planning and design are underway; the tender for construction will ne released in June 2021; work is expected to commence in spring and take about five months. If required, work will be suspended over the peak summer period and will be considered closer to the time. A confirmed work schedule will be announced after a contractor is appointed.
Alternative berthing, angling and pier walking opportunities will be available at nearby piers such as Rosebud, Dromana, Sorrento and Portsea. The adjacent Rye Boat Ramp jetty also continues to provide short term berthing opportunities.
Frequently asked questions
What is happening at the Rye Pier?
Rye Pier is being upgraded as part of the Victorian Government’s Building Works economic stimulus initiative. Once complete, the improvements will include a substantially rebuilt and widened section of pier that will continue to serve the community for many more years.
Why are the works needed?
The Rye Pier is nearing the end of its design life having been built in 1993-94, almost 27 years ago. Due to sustained exposure to harsh coastal conditions, the life of a timber jetty is traditionally 30 – 50 years. Engineering assessments show significant concerns for the structural integrity of the pier due to deteriorating piles and cross beams. Staged replacement of the pier is the most viable option.
What will the works involve?
The rebuild and improvements will involve: -
- Complete reconstruction of a 270 metre section of the pier approach from the foreshore to before the low landing.
- Using all timber materials, 196 piles as well as new crossheads, beams, decking and capping will be installed at the rebuilt section.
- The rebuilt section will be raised by 600 millimetres.
- Construction of a ramp at the start of the pier and at the end of the rebuilt section, connecting with the existing low landing.
- Installation of steel handrails along one side of the widened deck area.
- Replacement of power cables and electric lights with solar lights.
Will the pier be closed at any time during the works?
A complete pier closure is necessary during peak construction works to ensure public safety. Once the deck boards are removed there is no safe alternative way for pedestrians to access the pier. The closure will allow repairs to be done with minimal interruptions so that the pier can be reopened as quickly as possible and minimise disruptions to the community and marine life.
How long will Rye Pier be closed?
Scheduling works to minimise impacts is a priority, however, people should be prepared for an extended disruption period. A confirmed works schedule will be announced after a contractor is appointed. As a guide, the final stages of planning and design are underway; the tender for construction will be released in June 2021; works are expected to commence in spring 2021 and take about five months. If required, a suspension of work over the peak summer period will be considered closer to the time.
What are the impacts to visitors and community during the work?
The entire length of the pier, including the low landing, will be temporarily closed to all recreational and commercial users including for boating, angling / fishing, walking or diving activities accessed from the pier. There may be some visual amenity and noise impacts. A fenced work site will be established in the foreshore car park for the duration of construction. Fencing and signage will be in place to communicate access restrictions.
What impact will the works have on the marine values in the area?
Rye Pier is home to significant marine life, most notably being renowned as an ideal place to observe the Giant Spider Crab (Leptomithrax gaimardii) aggregation ahead of their annual winter moult. This phenomenon, combined with the presence of many other incredible marine species from bottom feeding seasonal sightings of seahorses, stingrays, spider crabs and octopus through to a range of fish species make it a popular dive location. Consideration of the marine ecology data collected through citizen science initiatives and previous surveys, in addition to a new marine life survey being commissioned for this project that will examine the current marine life at the pier, important dive sites, impacts of pile removal and risk mitigation recommendations, will help inform strategies to minimise the impact on marine life and maintain the areas attraction to divers and snorkellers.
What impact will the works have on the heritage values of the area?
Parks Victoria recognises the heritage character timber piers like Rye Pier provide and is committed to ensuring these values are preserved. While Rye Pier is not heritage listed, adopting an all-timber reconstruction approach, including for the piles, crossheads, beams, decking and capping, will help retain the character of the pier.
Is the pier head still safe?
Yes, for now. The pier head condition is deteriorating due to age and sustained exposure to harsh weather conditions. Parks Victoria will continue to monitor the pier head condition to ensure community safety and, if necessary, implement access restrictions to ensure public safety while future planning is undertaken.
Can I still berth my boat or other vessel at the pier during the works?
No. All recreational berthing access will be prohibited while the pier is closed for works. Water access to the pier from other non-powered vessels, such as kayaks and stand-up paddle boards will also be suspended for the duration of the pier closure. No part of the pier may be accessed from the water or land during its temporary closure, including the low landing. As is currently the case, vessels berthing will continue to be prohibited at the pier head. The adjacent Rye Boat Ramp jetty will also continue to provide for berthing opportunities for fishing charter operators. Parks Victoria will work with commercial operators to identify alternative berthing locations at other sites.
Can I still fish from the pier during the works?
All access to the pier for angling and fishing will be temporarily prohibited while the pier is closed for works. No part of the pier may be accessed from the water or land during its closure, including the low landing.
Can I still swim / dive around / under the pier during the works?
Swimming, diving or snorkelling under the 270 metre section of pier undergoing works will be prohibited for public safety and an exclusion zone established. Diving under the pier head may continue provided access is from the shore or from a vessel away from the pier head, and care is taken whilst transiting around the works site exclusion zone. Divers must ensure they have a class A dive flag visible and ensure they do not enter the works area. Access onto the pier head and low landing will be temporarily suspended during the closure.
Will the raised height of the pier still be DDA accessible compliant?
Yes. A ramp will be constructed where the pier entrance meets the foreshore, and another installed at the end of the rebuilt section before the low landing to connect with the existing lower pier head and low landing. The two ramps will ensure continued all abilities access to the varying levels of the pier.
How are these works being considered as part of the overall Rye foreshore redevelopment?
Parks Victoria are working with the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to ensure the improvements complement and integrate with the Rye Foreshore redevelopment currently being planned.
Why isn’t the entire pier being repaired through this funding program?
The funding available enables work to focus on the pier approach between the foreshore and the low landing. The priority is to ensure access is restored to the areas that will have the greatest benefit to the wider community. As part of Parks Victoria’s local ports management responsibility, it will continue to consider future planning for the entire pier precinct, including the pier head.
Parks Victoria is the local port manager for Port Phillip, Western Port and Port Campbell. The three local ports combined receive approximately 80 million visits a year, and include 263,000 hectares of waterway, marine protected areas, channels, piers and jetties, moorings and aids to navigation.
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Places to see – Rye Pier
Rye Foreshore - Rye Township Plan | Shape our Future
Rye Pier Approach Construction Tender - closes 23 June 2021