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Infrared technology could help St. Pete monitor cosmetic cracks in new pier

City engineers say the cracking is limited to a three-inch slab that is just there for aesthetics.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cracks in parts of the concrete leading up to the St. Pete Pier are top of mind for city engineers, who said they plan to use infrared technology to watch the cosmetic imperfections they say pose no harm to the structure of the pier or to the safety of visitors.

"The city is proactive and will continue to monitor this and we are moving forward with an infrared review of the site to actually determine where all the cracks are, what depth and what location these cracks are,” Brejesh Prayman, director of the Engineering and Capital Improvements department for the city of St. Petersburg.

Here's what's happening: The city says the area leading up to the pier was one of the last areas of concrete poured and having to work around heavy construction vehicles likely caused the cracking.

City engineers say the cracking is limited to a three-inch slab that is just there for aesthetics.

Underneath is a 15-to-18-inch structural deck that doesn't appear to have any problems.

The infrared technology will show any changes in the cracks over time.

And the city plans to start with the process in the next few months, with inspections to follow over the next year.

Prayman says the recent condo collapse in Surfside has nothing to do with efforts to monitor the pier--and that this is a normal process. He said the one-year mark of the pier's opening is a critical time for creating a maintenance plan to keep it safe for years to come.

"We'll continue our cycle of conducting that re-inspection, and then every two years, additional inspections, and we'll be able to track if these cracks increasing or if we are actually getting any separation from that aesthetic top towards the structural deck,” said Prayman.

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