A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as officials marked the start of work on a new $1.7 billion multi-mission dry dock project.

According to Navy officials, Dry Dock 1 area was originally built during World War II to supplement submarine production. This seven-year construction project will modernize the dock, providing increased capacity for accommodating three Los Angeles or Virginia-class attack submarines at once for repair, maintenance, and modernization.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro served as the keynote speaker during Wednesday's event. He said that sailors and Marines put themselves in harm's way every day to protect national security interests and "we owe it to them to be the best prepared and equipped force in the world."

U.S. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, were joined by Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Maggie Hassan, D-NH. U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, was also in attendance.

Jim Cleveland

Shaheen said America’s national security is strengthened by the critical work performed each day at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where there are skilled and dedicated workers who ensure submarines are ready to face any challenge.

Shaheen offered a statement after the event:

“I was thrilled to be on hand this morning with Navy Secretary Del Toro, Shipyard leadership and the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations to celebrate the groundbreaking of the multi-mission dry dock project, which will empower the Shipyard to meet the future maintenance needs for Virginia-class submarines.

As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, I’ll keep working to make sure the Shipyard and its workforce have the necessary funding, resources and support to carry out its work, as well as push for continued investments and the timely implementation of this project through the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, which is crucial to the future of the Navy’s shipyards.”

This project is part of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, which is a joint effort between Naval Sea Systems Command, NAVFAC, and Navy Installations Command to recapitalize and modernize the infrastructure at the Navy's four public shipyards.

The agenda includes repairing and modernizing dry docks, restoring shipyard facilities and optimizing their placement for efficiency, and replacing aging and deteriorating capital equipment. For more information about SIOP, visit https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Shipyards/SIOP/.

In total, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employs about 6,600 civilian employees and there are approximately 100 naval officers and enlisted personnel assigned to the Shipyard.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com. 

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