The U.S. Navy selected a joint venture of Dragados USA, Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. and Orion Government Services LLC for a $2.8-billion project to build a replacement dry dock at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Oahu, Hawaii.

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) awarded the task order March 10 under a 2021 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract worth up to $8 billion. The Honolulu-based team beat three other proposals for the work, according to the U.S. Defense Dept. award announcement.

Dragados/Hawaiian Dredging/Orion JV is one of five teams the Navy selected to compete for task orders under the contract. Other firms include Bechtel National Inc., ECC Infrastructure LLC, Kiewit-Alberici SIOP MACC JV and Tutor-Perini Corp.-NAN Joint Venture. Officials did not say which other teams submitted for this project.

The plan calls for construction of a concrete graving dock that can accommodate the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s nuclear-powered submarines. It would replace an existing dry dock built in 1942 that is not large enough to service Virginia-class submarines or larger surface ships, Navy officials say. Virginia is the same class of submarine the Biden administration recently announced the U.S. would supply to the U.K. and Australia. 

The project will deliver “critical capability to the fleet,” said Capt. Steve Padhi, commanding officer in charge of construction at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

“We have incorporated lessons learned and best practices from other dry dock projects and field offices across the Navy, and we have consulted with our construction contractors early in order to confidently meet the requirements we’ve been given,” he said.

Navy officials say the project is planned to take five years. The contract, incrementally funded with an initial allocation of $463 million, also includes three options that would increase its value to $3.4 billion, if exercised. 

Modernization Plan

The project is part of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, a 20-year, $21-billion plan to modernize infrastructure at Pearl Harbor and other U.S. Navy shipyards in Puget Sound, Wash.; Norfolk, Va.; and Portsmouth, Maine. 

“This project is a key investment in increasing capacity and modernizing our nation’s public shipyards through upgraded dry docks and facilities, new equipment, and improved workflow,” said Pete Lynch, program executive officer for industrial infrastructure.

President Joe Biden’s budget request for fiscal 2024 includes $2.3 billion for SIOP as part of $16.7 billion for military construction and family housing programs. Michael McCord, DOD comptroller and chief financial officer, told reporters that the figure represents a notable increase for military construction spending, including “some very large projects.”

The president’s budget also includes $9.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a 40% increase from this year that would put an additional $2.4 billion toward infrastructure improvement projects to enhance responsiveness and resilience of U.S. forces in the region.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin framed proposed military spending in Biden’s budget as necessary to “sharpen our edge” in pace with China’s military modernization efforts. The U.S. military has been undergoing numerous construction projects, particularly at Pacific facilities. As ENR reported last year, the Navy awarded contracts worth more than $1 billion for projects at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base Guam. 

“To sustain our military advantage over China, it makes major investments in integrated air and missile defenses and operational energy efficiency, as well as in our air dominance, our maritime dominance, and in munitions, including hypersonics,” Austin said.

NAVFAC also recently awarded a $249 million IDIQ contract to Irvine, Calif.-based Jacobs Government Services Co., for multi-discipline architect-engineer services for renovation, repair or new construction of facilities, primarily in California.

Last month, NAVFAC selected Vancouver, Wash.-based Kiewit-Alberici SIOP MACC JV for an $80-million project to mitigate seismic risks at three submarine dry docks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility and one dry dock at Trident Refit Facility Bangor.