BRUNSWICK — A sketch plan for a nearly 20,000-square-foot building at the Bath Iron Works Hardings Plant on Bridle Road, estimated to cost $4.5 million, was approved by the Planning Board Tuesday evening.

The plans describe Hardings as “the heart” of Bath Iron Works’ ship fabrication process, and the site where nearly every piece of steel, delivered via train, is blasted and primed before being used.

“The current building and machinery is 45 years old and as reliable as you’d expect it to be,” according to a memo to the board from Chris Main of Bath Iron Works. “We are looking for a new facility and new updated equipment.”

The memo also states if the current equipment fails or stops working, steel fabrication at Hardings would be halted, impacting the main shipyard, which requires steel from the facility every day. 

The aging equipment will continue to be used until the new tools have been tested and are up and running. At that point, the north wall of a warehouse at Hardings will be opened and connected to the new equipment; the old “Blast and Paint” building will then be demolished.

BIW will reduce the size of its plate yard for the new building, which means there will be no increase in impervious surface.

The company will have to go back before the Planning Board for a final plan review at a later meeting. 

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

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