Here come the funds: Navy inks contracts to bring billions to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

BREMERTON — The Navy is slated to sink its first $8 billion into its plans to revitalize the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and other docks and facilities in the Pacific. 

Five companies have inked contracts to compete for a decade's worth of work aimed at modernizing the docks, wharves and other infrastructure the Navy uses in Puget Sound to maintain its fleet. About 40% of the work entailed in the contracts will occur at the Bremerton shipyard, with another 40% for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and the rest at smaller Pacific bases. 

Rear Adm. John Korka, the Navy's chief civil engineer, noted there are many regulatory hurdles to clear before the work can begin, including public outreach about the projects. But he said it was important to have the companies on board through that process. 

"This will facilitate healthy competition and, ultimately, help us deliver the best solution we can for our Navy and our nation," said Korka, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Navy's public works arm. 

The projects, part of a two-decade effort to revamp and reconfigure the Navy's four public shipyards, must be completed by 2029. Each of the five companies will receive a guaranteed base of $2 million. Funding will come from the Defense Department's military construction budget.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, praised the Navy's announcement of the contracts. 

There are also concerns the shipyard is ill-prepared for powerful earthquakes. The only dry dock at the Puget Sound shipyard capable of cradling an aircraft carrier — and one of only two in the Navy — needs some $667 million in seismic improvements

Other projects are already underway, including a $21 million project to seismically retrofit Building 431. Built as a machine shop in 1934, the 557,000-square-foot building is vulnerable, like the rest of the shipyard, in what is known as a "high seismic hazard zone." 

The five organizations competing for the projects include a Vancouver, Washington-based joint venture between construction companies Alberici and Kiewit. The other four are Bechtel National of Virginia; a trio of companies — Dragados, Hawaiian Dredging and Orion joint venture — of Hawaii; and ECC Infrastructure LLC and TPC-NAN joint venture, both of California. 

By:  Josh Farley
Source: Kitsap Sun