PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Millions of dollars are being poured into upgrades at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
On Thursday, crews broke ground on a $200 million dry dock renovation project.
Dry Dock 4 will be renovated in two phases. Officials say it will upgrade facilities and ultimately improve the U.S. Navy’s readiness.
“Making this investment here means the Norfolk Naval Shipyard is here for years to come,” said Congressman Bobby Scott, who represents Virginia’s 3rd District.
Standing on Dry Dock 4 four, the crowd heard from Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts, who says this renovation project will not only support submarines, but it will also save money, improve missions and ultimately increase readiness of the Navy.
“We’re building the Navy our nation needs. It doesn’t do any good to build the Navy if you can’t support it, and a key element of supporting it is our naval shipyards,” said Geurts.
He says Dry Dock 4 has been in use for more than 100 years.
“100 years is old,” Geurts said. “We need to do amazing things for the next 100 years, and so this project gets this dry dock in a condition so it can do the amazing things the nation’s going to need for it for another 100 years.”
The renovation project is part of a $21-billion nationwide project that will refurbish the nation’s four public shipyards. The goals are to upgrade facilities, modernize equipment and enhance workflow.
“I think it’s awesome,” Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe said. “The shipyard is such a great asset not only to our nation, but particularly to the city of Portsmouth.”
Rowe attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which was personal for him: His father worked at the shipyard as an electrician.
“The Norfolk Naval Shipyard put the food on the Rowe table and put me and my brother through college,” Rowe said.
The Navy hopes to have this project completed by August 2022. Three other docks are slated to be renovated by 2040.