South Carolina pier damaged in 2016 hurricane reopens

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina pier heavily damaged in a hurricane four years ago is finally reopening.

The Springmaid Pier at the south end of Myrtle Beach welcomed its first visitors since its extensive rebuilding on Friday.

The 1,000-foot (300-meter) long pier suffered extensive damage in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew scraped the South Carolina coast.

Crews rebuilt the pier with steel instead of wood and separated it into five sections so it would be stronger and easier to fix if damaged, said Lindsay Rice, a spokeswoman for the privately-owned structure.

A restaurant and tackle and gift shop is also on the pier, which is one of the longest on the East Coast.

The pier was supposed to reopen at the start of June, but lightning struck a crane on the site before repairs were finished, delaying the project.

The pier is owned by the Double Tree Resort by Hilton.