BANGOR’S pier is undergoing a £1m restoration project to keep it safe for generations to come.

Necessary repairs on the 1,500ft (450m) Garth Pier, which opened in 1896, will see strengthening of the steel superstructure, work under the deck, as well as repairs to hand railings, repainting and shot blasting areas of corrosion.

Work on the landmark is being carried out in phases, over the next three to four years by Bangor City Council, and is being funded by capital allocation money, set aside by the council for restoration.

The pier, which has 110 girders supported by cross members and has cast iron columns, is the second longest in North Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles. It is a Grade II* listed structure and located in the Menai Strait and Conwy Bay Special Area of Conservation.

The first phase of work to put in place a complicated system of scaffolding started about a month ago.

Bangor City Council town clerk Ian Jones said: “The pier is now ready for refurbishment. It is necessary work which will secure its structure and safety for many, many years to come.

“The main work will see cutting out and replacing heavily corroded areas, repairing steel work, grit blasting and painting with special paint, as well mending handrails. It is estimated to cost about £1m, and we are hoping - weather dependent - to get it done in less than four years, possibly three.”

“The fact that the pier is in a very harsh marine environment, and it’s often very windy out in the Menai Strait, means the restoration is tricky, even putting up scaffolding is complicated, we can’t just shot blast paint and let it fall in the water.”

“We have had to consult with a whole range of experts and local people who might be affected, including people like marine conservationists, scientists, architects, CADW, Crown Estates and even local fisherman, such as the mussel boat people. It is quite a big job.”

It is hoped the attraction will continue to remain open to the public as usual, during the work.

“There may be times when bits of the pier are cordoned off, or occasional times when it might close, but we are hoping to minimise any disruption. It is a very well loved feature of Bangor and quite unique,” he added.

The last major work carried out on the pier was in the 1980s. It closed in the 1970s in disrepair and was replaced and officially opened on May 14, in 1986, by George Douglas- Pennant, the second Baron Penrhyn. It was designed by J J Webster of Westminster, London.