Award Winner - May 2013
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Oscoda Observation Pier

Oscoda, Michigan

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Spicer Group Inc. in Saginaw, Michigan

Size: 3,840 square feet

Project Cost: $1.06 million

Quick Tour:

  • Universally accessible fishing
  • ADA benches
  • Specialty lighting
  • Connection to 150-foot boardwalk
  • Distinctive lighting
  • Unique steel caisson design for durability

Located on the northern shores of Lake Huron, Oscoda Township is a vacation and recreation-enthusiast wonderland. In the midst of the area's recreational opportunities sits the Oscoda Beach Park. But up until November 2012, the park was missing a key attraction—a pier.

The one-of-a-kind Oscoda Pier was designed with the harsh conditions of the Great Lakes and Michigan winters in mind, while also creating a distinguished landmark and destination for visitors and local residents. It was also designed to cater to people of all abilities, going beyond ADA requirements by providing accessible fishing areas and ADA benches.

The pier provides many recreational and economic benefits, including creating universal access to Lake Huron, establishing a link to a larger trail system, maximizing waterfront integration, enhancing scenic viewing and fishing opportunities and promoting natural resources and economic stimulus for the Oscoda downtown area.

Some of the amenities incorporated into the design include accessible fishing areas, ADA benches, as well as lighting that gives the pier identity in the evening hours.

As beautiful as the view may be on a warm summer afternoon or crisp fall morning, Lake Huron is also known for its furious storms, with waves more than 20 feet high. Bitter winters can send ice pushing its way up and down the shoreline. To withstand these forces, architects and engineers worked together to create a design that was pleasing to the eye while able to handle the weather. This was accomplished through the construction of large steel-reinforced caissons encased in sheet metal pilings, which were used as the foundations. Sections of steel pedestrian bridge spanning 100 feet were placed on top of the caissons and designed to withstand waves and ice loading.

Innovation was also used to allow for fishing access for people of all abilities. The lake bottom in the vicinity of the park gently slopes into deep water, which meant fishing opportunities were only available by boat. The pier was designed to extend far enough out to provide access to more fishable water from shore. The pier was also created to allow barrier-free fishing opportunities as railing heights and widths are varied in different areas throughout the pier's length.

The pier's lighting makes for a beautiful landmark for Oscoda from the beach and from out on the lake. The deck of the pier is wood to maintain boardwalk appeal, but it is pressure-treated and thick enough to withstand weather conditions.

Recreation in Michigan is all about enjoying its vast natural resources. Being able to enjoy the Great Lakes and all they have to offer without the aid of a boat provides exceptional recreational value to this northern community's citizens and visitors alike.


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