Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard has broken ground for the renovation of its historic Dry Dock 4, the Navy has announced.
The renovation is expected to cost $200 million and span nearly three years, the branch said in a press release.
It's intended to meet the Navy's needs for submarine overhaul during the 2020s, with the aim of supporting Ohio, Virginia and Columbia-class vessels, as well as meet other needs in the future.
"Today's groundbreaking will ensure this historic dry dock will continue to serve the Navy and nation for the future Navy, just as it has done for the last 100 years," said Assistant Secretary of the Navy research, development and acquisition team James Geurts. "The Navy continues to invest heavily in our naval shipyard workforce and supporting infrastructure to ensure we can continue to support the world's finest naval force now and into the future."
During the renovation, workers will replace two-and-a-half-feet of concrete on the dry dock's floor, as well as two feet from the sidewalls, will restore the pumpwell and will upgrade all mechanical and electrical equipment.
According to the Navy, in a separate $26 million, two-and-a-half-year project, Norfolk Naval Shipyard will also renovate two adjacent buildings that house a storage area and a repair shop.
The dry dock renovation is the largest initiative in Naval Sea Systems Command's Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program -- a 20-year, $21 billion program dedicated to refurbishing the nation's four public shipyards by modernizing equipment, improving workflow and upgrading dry docks and facilities.
Dry Dock 4 opened in 1919 as one of the first of three dry docks built at NNSY during World War I-era expansion.