Baltimore County Now
Baltimore County Office of Communications
A tunnel project in Virginia has brought new jobs to Sparrows Point. Let me explain.
These days, if you walk along the dry dock at the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Park in Dundalk, you’ll see huge concrete tubes in the making. Let me define huge. These sections of reinforced concrete are 32 inches thick and wide enough in diameter to fit more than two lanes of traffic. The tubes are being manufactured by SKW Constructors for a tunnel project in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
SKW and its subcontractors have hired about 100 carpenters, concrete finishers, mechanics, structural and reinforcing iron workers, surveyors, truck drivers and laborers for the massive project. These positions already are filled, but SKW is currently hiring certified crane operators.
“SKW is a huge boost in the County’s efforts to bring new businesses and new jobs back to Sparrows Point,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Senator Norman Stone recalled the great manufacturing tradition at the Sparrows Point shipyard. “Workers at Sparrows Point built Liberty Ships here during World War II. Even though it isn’t ship building, it is good to see some manufacturing jobs back at the shipyard. I am hopeful that these jobs will be performed by local workers.”
In Sparrows Point, SKW found a perfect location for heavy industrial construction and shipping, taking advantage of one of the largest privately owned graving docks on the east coast.
By next winter, the first sections of tunnel tubes should be finished, floated out of the dock, and shipped by barge to Virginia for the Elizabeth River Tunnels project. As soon as the first shipment is on its way, construction of another five sections begins, along with production of huge industrial fans to circulate air in the tunnels.
“It feels good to know we’re exporting a little bit of Sparrows Point down to Virginia,” said County Executive Kamenetz. “This is the beginning of what promises to be a brand new Sparrows Point with thousands of new jobs coming to the region. I am committed to building on this good news, and our next step is to ensure that the Port of Baltimore expands its operation to Sparrows Point as soon as possible. I will do everything that I can to work with Port and State officials to move that process forward.”
To see the size of the concrete tunnel tubes, check out this slide show.
Executive Director, Baltimore County Department of Economic Development
They're longer than four football fields and can carry three times the cargo of any vessel. And they're coming soon to a port near you.
A new generation of super ships will begin sailing through the Panama Canal beginning in 2014. The Port of Baltimore is getting ready for these huge visitors, with the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Dundalk undergoing a major expansion.
Baltimore County has launched a major economic development initiative to help us capitalize on the Port's tremendous growth. A new Sparrows Point Partnership brings together 16 prominent business and private sector leaders to look at port-related business and job growth opportunities in Sparrows Point, North Point, Essex, Rossville and Middle River.
We already have a strong industrial base that includes a network of manufacturers, suppliers, logistics and distribution companies and their trained workers. We have deepwater access, two commercial rail lines, interstate access, and land zoned for industry.
Bring on the super ships!
Baltimore County Executive
Once again, the hard-working men and women at RG Steel Sparrows Point are facing tough times. We are keenly aware that thousands of workers and their families depend on steel making for their livelihood -- plus thousands more who work for suppliers and businesses related to the Sparrows Point mill.
Baltimore County's rapid response workforce development team will be working with RG Steel, the United Steelworkers and our State partners to be sure workers have timely information about all unemployment benefits and resources available to them. We encourage Sparrows Point workers to take advantage of the free services and workshops available at Baltimore County's workforce development centers. Free career consultation, seminars, and job placement assistance are available at the Eastpoint, Hunt Valley and Liberty Center career centers. For more information on our Division of Workforce Development, please click here.