Navy Considers Major Upgrades to Southern California Weapons Station

first_imgThe Navy is contemplating major upgrades to the 5,200-acre Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in a bid to accommodate more ships at the Orange County, Calif., installation as the military shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region.Possible improvements include construction of a new ammunition pier, reconfiguring and dredging Anaheim Bay to allow two ships to dock rather than one, and adding an access channel for boaters using Huntington Harbour.The existing pier can service only one medium-size ship at a time, can’t handle large vessels because its turning basin is too small and is not compliant with modern earthquake codes, reported the Huntington Beach Independent. A new 1,100-by-125-foot ammunition pier in Anaheim Bay could accommodate 840-foot amphibious assault ships at a construction cost of $100 million to $125 million.The pier was built in 1944 and hasn’t been updated since the Korean War, said Navy spokesman Gregg Smith.“This has been an issue that the Navy has been working on for years, and it’s just one of those things where it eventually just came to the top of the line where there was funding available to start the process,” Smith said.The Navy anticipates more ship traffic in the Pacific as tensions continue in Asia and the Mideast. With more ships based in San Diego, Seal Beach will “see more business in the years ahead,” he said.The Navy has begun the scoping process to inform local residents about its plans and to gather feedback. The next step is an environmental assessment to evaluate the project’s impact on air quality, beach erosion, biological resources, marine habitats and surrounding neighborhoods. A draft of that study is planned for winter 2017. A decision as to how or whether to move forward would not come until late 2017 or early 2018, according to the story.The weapons station is a major munitions storage and loading facility for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img