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Design Solution Allows Sub Repairs To Begin On Time
March 30, 2011

According to information made available from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) arrived on time for a scheduled repair availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard March 11, due to repair designs by NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Public Works Department (PWD) Portsmouth employees, for a dry dock at the facility.

The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class James Kimber)

In October 2010, PWD Portsmouth was notified that there was a crack in the granite that makes up part of Dry Dock 4 at the shipyard.

Public works structural engineers assessed the technical issues and provided a design solution that was approved by Naval Sea Systems Command in November. The work was completed and a dry dock certification was obtained March 8, allowing the submarine to begin repairs on time.

“I’m really proud of our engineering department for coming up with an effective design in such a short time frame,” said Cmdr. Rolfe Ashworth, PWD Portsmouth public works officer.

Ashworth said a project of this scope would normally take longer than a year, and the success was due to cooperation from PWD, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic; Naval Sea Systems Command; Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic; and the contractor who performed the repairs.

“Each of these entities worked together to do their part in a compressed timeline,” said Ashworth.

By completing this design and repair quicker, not only was USS West Virginia able to enter the shipyard on time, it also saved the Navy money. According to estimates, a five month delay would have cost the Navy an additional $6 million.

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