Construction work with cranes on Naval Base pier

Approximately two years after the project team’s construction partnering kick-off session, the nearly $70-million Naval Submarine Base New London’s Pier 32 modernization project in Groton, Connecticut was dedicated during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 21, 2022. Approximately 60 people, including Navy, submarine base and Coast Guard representatives, government officials, and project team members were in attendance to celebrate this momentous occasion.

“It’s a proud day for every member of the Naval Submarine Base New London team as we’re committed to positively impacting SUBASE’s fleet, fighters, and families through the best infrastructure and service support we can deliver,” said Cmdr. Reg Preston, executive officer of the submarine base during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Built by Weeks Marine, Inc. of Cranford, N.J. and designed by a joint venture of Moffatt & Nichol and Stantec, Pier 32 replaces the original pier built in 1978. The new 68-foot by 525-foot marine structure was built to accommodate two new classes of submarines at once. The old pier could only accommodate one.

Additionally, the new pier has space for cranes and trucks in support of each boat on both sides of the pier. As part of the project, approximately 25,000 yards of material were dredged, and the navigation channel was widened.

Constructed from resilient materials that will wear better, last longer and require less maintenance than the original, the new pier also has raised electrical infrastructure to help protect against damage from flooding.

“The completion of the project marks a key step in a waterfront modernization that ultimately assures SUBASE will be ready to provide for the next generation of Virginia-class fast attack submarines,” said Captain Ken Curtin, the 53rd Commanding Officer of the subbase.

Built in a busy industrial area during the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team for this complex project utilized a formal construction partnering program facilitated by VELO Group President Neal Flesner and Partnering Facilitator Eileen Sien. As part of the initial partnering session, the team set common goals for schedule, safety, quality, changes, issue resolution, budget, environmental, teamwork and project closeout. These Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGS) and other partnering strategies helped align the project team and set them up for success.

“As a highly effective partnering group, the Pier 32 team pivoted to virtual partnering for the project,” said Sien. “Using the time to make commitments, holding each other accountable and highlighting strong communication and collaboration within the team, it was evident they were working from a “Project First” mindset that brought them great success.”

“From the project onset, the Weeks Marine, Navy, and design teams fully embraced the partnering culture,” said Keith V. MacKenzie, Project Manager for Weeks Marine. “Like any large construction project, issues, changes, and challenges arise frequently. The partnering mindset held by the three major project stakeholders (Weeks Marine, NAVFAC, Moffat & Nichol – Stantec JV) made resolution of these challenging circumstances smooth and quick.”

To the team’s credit, dredging for the project was completed and the first submarine docked approximately seven weeks prior to contract completion. The second submarine is scheduled to dock about four weeks prior to contract completion. Slated to finish under budget, the project’s high standards for quality and teamwork effectively paved the way for future projects to follow.

Congratulations to this high-performing team for your commitment to partnering and your many achievements on this crucial Naval project!

Large construction crane on Naval base pier

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