In a major military construction announcement, the US Navy has awarded a $1.7-billion contract to Omaha-based 381 Constructors to enlarge and reconfigure a dry dock for submarines at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

381 Constructors is a joint venture of The Industrial Company (TIC)—a Kiewit Corp. subsidiary—with Maine-based Cianbro Corp. and The Middlesex Corp., Littleton, Mass., a Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) spokesman told ENR on Aug. 17.

The contract, which the Dept. of Defense announced on Aug. 13, is to extend for seven years, according to NAVFAC, which awarded the contract.

The project will include a two-bay addition to Dry Dock 1, as well as new concrete floors, walls, pump systems, caissons, mechanical and electric utilities. Cianbro already is working on a $158-million project to modernize the existing dry dock.

in a statement, NAVFAC commander, Rear Adm. John Korka, termed the shipyard upgrade "a critical construction mega-project.” He also is Navy chief of civil engineers.

NAVFAC said the funding will be in increments, including an initial $70-million obligated on the date of the award.

It also said the contract was awarded under its "best-value source selection" process, which was based on technical factors and price.

According to the DOD contract announcement, future annual increments are much larger, rising to $214 million in 2022, $390 million in 2023 and peaking at $405 million in 2024. The allocations decline to $300 million in 2025, $200 million in 2026 and $152.5 million in 2027.

DOD says the contract includes seven options, which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to more than $1.7 billion.

The project is part of a broader infrastructure modernization program at the Navy’s four public shipyards and includes dry-dock modernization and repairs and other improvements.

The Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program is a 20-year, $21-billion joint effort of NAVFAC, the Naval Sea Systems Command and Navy Installations Command to modernize public shipyards, which date from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Besides Portsmouth, other public shipyards are in Norfolk, Va., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Bremerton, Wash.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who pushed for project funds at the 300-acre shipyard, said in a statement, “This contract is vital to our national security because it will allow [the Portsmouth shipyard] to maintain our submarine fleet.”

She said the current Dry Dock #1 can only handle Los Angeles-class submarines and would be “rendered obsolete” in the 2030s, when those submarines are removed from service.

Story updated on 8/17/2021 with names of companies that make up team that won the contract.