Roker Pier looks set to be closed off to visitors until further notice until repairs following storm damage is complete.
Work has begun to repair a 100 metre long section of the structure damaged when severe storms tore away the huge coping stones and swept them and railings into the sea.
The grade II-listed pier has been closed since the bad weather over the weekend of November 5 and 6, with the waves crashing against it as high as the lighthouse itself.
Now, Sunderland City Council has said it will remain sealed off to visitors until it is safe once again.
The team carrying out the work will be taking a break over Christmas and New Year and will return to the site on Monday, January 9.
Divers using heavy lifting gear have already managed to recover more than 35 granite coping stone block, each weighing 2.2 tonnes, from the sea around the pier.
Last month’s storm damage came as a real blow to our plan to open the pier for tours.Councillor Mel Speding
The intention is to re-use these once the weather has improved sufficiently for them to be reinstated along with new railings in the spring.
In the meantime, temporary repairs continue to shore up the damaged section of pier where the railings are missing, ahead of permanent repairs.
Structural engineers have also carried out a full inspection of the entire length of the pier’s railings to assess them for any long-term structural damage.
Cabinet secretary, Coun Mel Speding, said: “Last month’s storm damage came as a real blow to our plan to open the pier for tours. “We were due to launch our first tour of the lighthouse the very day we discovered the railings had been washed into the sea.
“Then when we did manage to get structural engineers onto the pier, we found that more railings than originally thought had been washed away by the sea.
“It’s essential that we consider the findings of these further tests to gauge the full extent of any long term damage to the railings in addition to carrying out the temporary repairs that engineers tell us are needed to prevent any further damage over the winter.
“Then we’ll be looking to carry out permanent repairs once the weather has improved sufficiently to get contractors on site in the spring.
“We are still searching for a temporary solution that would allow public tours of the lighthouse to go ahead before then, but we won’t know if this is possible until we’ve had the chance to properly assess the inspection report on the railings.”