CAPITOLA (KPIX)– Emergency repairs after this winter’s wet weather have stretched into the summer at the municipal wharf in Capitola.
It’s forced the closure of one of the season’s biggest attractions — the Wharf House restaurant.
The seafood restaurant sits right on the water and boasts sweeping views. It was at the top of the lunch agenda for Jeff Cohen’s family visiting from Sacramento.
“We’re have a party of eleven that was ready to go on the wharf, so we’re the first to know that it’s closed,” said Cohen.
The Wharf House has closed to allow a big crane and construction crews to begin work fixing some storm damage. Crews have to replace two pilings on the wharf’s floating docks that were destroyed by big waves last April.
“Without the floating docks, we’re not really operating as a safe port right now,” said Public Works Director Steve Jesberg, “You have to jump on a ladder right now so that’s not really safe. So we are not comfortable having the marina open, there are a few boats out there, so they are there at their own risk right now.”
Although the damage happened in the spring, work couldn’t begin until now, the height of the tourist season. The beaches are full, so are the restaurants, parking lots and vacation rentals which are right next to the construction zone.
Some said the heavy equipment appeared overnight, catching folks like Rochelle Cohen of Sacramento by surprise.
“They had a huge crane parked, so I couldn’t get my car out,” she said.
One guest in the beach front condos simply rolled over the safety cones so he could park.
The restaurant and a bait and boat shop are the only two businesses operating on the wharf. Both are closed during construction. Access is also cut off to anglers and sightseers.
“It’s disappointing, I was craving that ham and cheese sandwich at the Wharf House,” said Lori Francis.
The project is now further delayed because the protective coating on the steel replacement pilings was somehow scratched off during transportation. That mishap will allow the wharf to reopen until the pilings can be repaired or replaced.