Senators Shaheen, Collins Announce Nearly $158 Million Contract Awarded to Modernize Dry Dock #1 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

November 22, 2019

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that a $157,949,610 contract was awarded to Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield, Maine, for construction of a super flood basin and extending portal crane rails for Dry Dock #1 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY).  As members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senators Shaheen and Collins secured this funding in the fiscal year 2019 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. 

“It’s very encouraging to see this project that is so important to our national security moving forward, especially since this funding was once under threat from the administration,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ve fought tirelessly to secure and protect these resources as a member of both the Appropriations and Armed Services committees. Increasing dry dock capacity helps ensure that the Shipyard remains indispensable to the maintenance of our submarine fleet long into the future and I look forward to seeing this project completed.”  

“As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I championed this important investment at PNSY, which will begin the process of modernizing Dry Dock #1 and allow the shipyard to meet the future needs of our Navy,” said Senator Collins.  “PNSY is the gold standard for all public shipyards, and this project will help the highly skilled employees continue to carry out their mission of ensuring that our submarines are always ready to answer the call of duty.” 

The project will renovate Dry Dock #1 by constructing a superflood basin at the dry dock entrance. The superflood basin, similar to a navigational lock, will enable Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class submarines to dock without the use of buoyancy assist tanks.  Currently, Dry Dock #1 can only accommodate Los Angeles-class submarines, which means it will be rendered obsolete when LA-class submarines are removed from service in the 2030s.  Additionally, without this project, Dry Dock #1 would not be able to support operations beyond 2021 due to the decertification of the current air filled buoyancy assist system, which is more than 40 years old.  

The project also includes a separately authorized project to construct a new portal crane rail and modernizes the existing one to support a new high-capacity portal crane for reactor servicing requirements at Dry Dock #1.  The Navy’s Los Angeles-class Service Life Extension Program requires a new high-capacity portal crane with crane rail infrastructure to provide heavy-lift access to the Dry Dock #1 reactor servicing complex, utility upgrades and modifications, and railroad modifications to perform refueling of Los-Angeles-class submarines. 

Senators Shaheen and Collins worked to secure funding for this project in the fiscal year 2019 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that was signed into law last year. Work is expected to be completed by March 2022.  

Senator Shaheen, also a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has fought tirelessly to secure funding for the Shipyard. She was also instrumental in defending Shipyard construction projects against the President’s threats to divert potential Shipyard funding towards the border wall. Since the President first announced his emergency declaration and projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were initially listed as potential targets to lose funding, including the Paint, Blast and Rubber facility, Senator Shaheen has successfully defended the funding secured by Congress. Today, Shaheen—along with Senators Hassan and Collins—will attend the groundbreaking for the new Paint, Blast and Rubber facility.