WORK is well underway to rebuild a jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base in preparation to house the Royal Navy’s brand new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers.
VolkerStevin has been awarded a contract to reconstruct Middle Slip Jetty so it can accommodate HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – the biggest ships ever built for the Royal Navy. The jetty, built in the 1920s, was last upgraded in the 1970s.
So now, VolkerStevin has been appointed to refurbish and upgrade the jetty, provide a high voltage electrical supply and to upgrade and refurbish the existing drinking water system.
The firm will also provide navigation aids to allow safe access into and out of the harbour.
Captain Iain Greenlees is the head of infrastructure at Portsmouth Naval Base. He said: ‘This jetty is 90 years old now and the older parts of it are beginning to creak so they won’t last the life of this carrier.
‘So now is the time to get it right and make sure she has got a facility that will allow her to be supported properly for the next 50 years.
It’s a really great moment. It’s an outward sign of the future of the base as we lay down this programme for the carriersCaptain Iain Greenlees
‘It’s a really great moment. It’s an outward sign of the future of the base as we lay down this programme for the carriers. It’s the only port where the carriers will be able to get this level of support in the UK.
‘That really will bring a lot of investment and activity in the base over that time reassuring our future here in Portsmouth and for the city itself.’
The work, expected to be completed in autumn 2016, forms part of a £100m infrastructure package to prepare the base for the arrival of the first carrier.
Minister for Portsmouth Mark Francois said: ‘This is fantastic news for the city as it continues its regeneration and creates more jobs and opportunities for local people.
‘The refurbished jetty will help to maintain Portsmouth’s place at the heart of our naval industry and I look forward to seeing the HMS Queen Elizabeth at her new home in the years ahead.’
Philip Wise is the project manager at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). He said: ‘We are delivering this for our colleagues in defence and it’s something that’s been in the pipes for a long time so to see it coming to fruition on site is where we want to be.’