Portsmouth Naval Shipyard raises security with new $6.2 million gate

Posted Aug. 07, 2012, at 5:53 a.m.

KITTERY, Maine — A $6.2 million project has commenced at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to rebuild one of the two security gates at the facility.

Gate 2, located off Whipple Road in Kittery, is set to be reconstructed by spring 2013, according to Shipyard Deputy Public Affairs Officer Danna Eddy.

The new “state-of-the-art” security gate will have two inbound lanes for cars and one inbound lane for trucks, situated around a guard house, Eddy said. The gate will funnel outbound traffic into two lanes.

MCC Construction Co. of Colchester, Conn., has been awarded the contract to construct the new entrance. Funding for the project was earmarked in the federal fiscal 2010 budget under a fund for military construction. The contract was awarded on Feb. 21, 2012, and the contractor began working on the site in early May.

Shipyard officials declined to comment on why the upgrades to the security gate are necessary, citing a “long-standing Navy policy” to stay silent on physical security details.

The new facility was designed to blend into its environs by incorporating some of the common architectural elements of the neighborhood, such as dormers, gable roof lines, and similar building materials and color schemes. Pedestrian access to the gate will be integrated with the existing sidewalks on the street.

Gate 2 is normally accessible from 5-7 a.m. and from 2:30-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Shipyard officials hope to keep the gate open “to the greatest extent possible” during its normal hours of operation while construction is under way. The construction is being sequenced to allow for vehicle access during the shipyard’s morning and afternoon shift changes.

Gate 1 will remain open around the clock to accommodate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Some 5,187 employees work at the shipyard, which is located on an island near the border of Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, N.H. About 4,850 are directly employed by the shipyard. A few hundred more are employed by U.S. Navy organizations stationed there.

The shipyard’s employees are drawn from a wide swath of communities. The largest share — about 420 — reside in the area of Sanford and Springvale. Another 369 employees live in Kittery and Kittery Point, and 298 reside in South Berwick.

In New Hampshire, Rochester is the community with the greatest number of shipyard employees, at 358. Dover is home to 297 employees, and Portsmouth is home to another 248.

The shipyard is outfitted with three dry docks, and its primary function is to service the Navy’s fleet of submarines. While Gate 2 is being upgraded this month, work is also being planned inside the high-security facility to address a backlog of necessary upgrades.

The Navy has stated Portsmouth Naval Shipyard requires at least $513 million in renovations. Last March, the Navy announced plans to invest up to $100 million to upgrade and modernize shipyard facilities this fiscal year, which ends in September.

Funding for the projects will come from the Navy’s $1.4 billion Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization budget. The work includes a $15.8 million project for repairs and energy-saving upgrades to removable submarine covers, and two separate modernization and renovation projects at buildings 174 and 178.

Building 178 will be upgraded into a “consolidated state-of-the-art shipyard industrial material handling facility,” according to an announcement from the Department of Defense. The interior of building 174, the West End Waterfront Support Facility, will also be demolished and renovated in several phases.

Work on both projects is being conducted by Environmental Chemical Corp., a defense contractor based in California with headquarters in Marlborough, Mass.

The projects are expected to be completed by December 2014.

(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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