Located just two blocks from downtown Oscoda, Oscoda Beach Park offers approximately 1,025 feet of sand along Lake Huron. During an improvement project, it was decided that a fishing pier and observation deck should be added along the beach. Furthermore, it was imperative that the pier meet and exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements by providing accessible fishing areas and benches.
Since the lake bottom gently slopes downward from the shore, fishing opportunities were only available via the use of a boat. For this reason, the pier needed to extend far enough into the lake so that it was over deep, or fishable, water. Additionally, the height of the railing at the end of the structure needed to be lower to accommodate barrier free fishing opportunities.
A pedestrian Connector®-style, Continental® truss bridge consisting of 3 - 100’ x 12’ painted prefabricated sections was chosen as the solution best able to meet the needs of the Township. The bridge was manufactured off site, with each section split in half and trucked via freight haulers to the Oscoda Beach Park. On-site, the sections were attached and set into place utilizing a crane and barge. To maintain the look of a traditional boardwalk, pressure-treated wood decking — thick enough to withstand weather conditions — was utilized. Access to the structure is provided by an 150’ x 8’ wooden boardwalk leading to the observation and fishing pier.
Designed to withstand the harsh weather conditions during winter — including waves in excess of 20’ and ice pushing along the shore — the pier was engineered to withstand the open waters of Lake Huron while maintaining an attractive look that enhances the beach area. The aesthetically pleasing, pier bridge was placed upon three steel-reinforced concrete caissons built 100 feet apart from each other while the bridge itself was designed to withstand waves and ice loading. Adding to the aesthetic appeal while also increasing the accessibility at night, lighting was added along the rails. The lights were designed to shine downward onto the walking surface to avoid interfering with night-time star gazing opportunities.
The surrounding park area includes a playground, a skateboarding area, a small basketball court, a band shell, a pavilion, picnic tables and grills, benches, a bathhouse with restrooms as well as a paved parking area. Nearby lies a street-scape pathway leading to the central business district.
"The project started with mixed community opinions," stated Jim Baier, Oscoda Township Supervisor, "But with the placement of the most visible components — the beautiful bridge spans from Contech — the pier is now loved by locals and visitors alike!"
The pier at Oscoda Beach Park has provided numerous benefits to the area such as: promoting natural resources, stimulating the local economy, creating access to Lake Huron, enhancing scenic views, establishing a link to a larger trail system and maximizing waterfront integration.
"The pier with a clear destination ... our hearts," added Brian Haley, Interested Citizen and Project Advocate.