AS a major section in the £1M restoration of Bangor pier comes to an end, the Victorian structure could soon be open to the public again.

Phase Three, the pier head area, of the huge project to repair the 1,500ft (450m) Garth Pier is set to finish ahead of its March 31, 2019 schedule.

The renovation has been carried out by the City of Bangor Council, employing local contractors. Major work has been done to strengthen the pier’s steel superstructure. Under and above the deck, work includes improvements to wrought iron, hand railings, buildings, repainting, repair and shot blasting areas of metal fatigue and corrosion.

The council embarked on Phase One of the four stage project back in August, 2017. The pier first opened to the public in 1896. The last major restoration was back in 1986.

Due to the precarious nature of the work on the pier, the use of substantial scaffolding has been needed.

During the work, detailed and incremental surveys were carried out and revealed more and more “challenging problems.”

According to the council, the extent of the metal decay was far bigger than anticipated.

Ian Jones, City of Bangor Council’s town clerk: said: “Some areas were so bad they could not be saved and new steel, trusses and supports, had to replace decayed and weak areas.

“The pier head had to be closed due to safety issues with trusses that were weak and corroded.

“This was pertinent at the time, especially after the collapse at Colwyn Bay pier.”

All trusses, both principal and wind, have been entirely replaced at the pier head.

Mr Jones said: “At the end of December, as Phase Three was coming to an end, the work proved to be very difficult, but the weather was pretty kind for this part of the world and progress was rapid.

“Although completion of the pier head will be ahead of schedule, the area will remain closed to the public until it is deemed not to be a construction site and the pavilion is rebuilt.

“We anticipate, weather permitting, that the area will be available to the public before April 1, 2019. Phase Four, work, just before the end of the pier comes next.”

He added “Anything further depends on funding, as the capital budget of £1.3m will soon be exhausted. But I can report that the pier is safe and presents no health and safety or structural issues going forward.”