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Second explosives handling wharf on Bangor proposed

A new wharf on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor would help crews load and unload torpedoes and missiles, but wouldn’t bring more submarines to the Hood Canal facility, the Navy said this week.

“We’re able to manage today,” said Joe Graf, from the Navy’s strategic systems program in Washington, D.C. “What we’re looking at is the future.”

The Navy would like to construct a second explosives handling wharf to convey armaments to and from the submarines. Officials discussed the project at an open house in Poulsbo Tuesday, the first of three outreach events held this week.

Bangor is home to eight Trident, or ballistic-missile, submarines that carry D-5 missiles.

Graf said the second explosives handling wharf would have the same capabilities as the current wharf where crews load and unload missiles. Graf said Kings Bay, Ga., which is home to six Trident submarines, has two explosives handling wharfs of its own.

“We learned that that is the best way to support the missile system,” he said.

Graf said the Navy does not plan to bring more Trident subs to Bangor, but a second explosives handling wharf is still needed. The second wharf would allow the current explosives handling wharf, which was built 30 years ago, to be temporarily closed for maintenance. The Navy also plans to replace the electronics in the D-5 missiles, which would then spend more time in the explosives handling wharf, making a second wharf helpful.

The Navy has created two alternatives for the wharf: a deep-water trestle and an onshore trestle. Both alternatives consist of a covered operations area 600 feet from shore and near the existing explosives handling wharf. The Navy is considering both a floating and pile-supported covered operations area for the alternatives.

A significant portion of the deep-water trestle would be constructed in deep water, while the onshore trestle would be constructed onshore, with 1,400 feet of exit roadway on land.

Graf said the Navy prefers the deep-water trestle option because it would be less damaging to the environment. In-water construction also is less costly and poses fewer complications and obstacles than building onshore.

Construction is expected to take four years. October 2011 is the earliest the Navy could begin building the second explosives handling wharf.

The work could affect marine life, including threatened and endangered species, and the surrounding environment, according to the Navy.

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