ELMA, Wash. - Soon, if you watch a game at the new Husky Stadium in Seattle or cross over the upcoming new 520 floating bridge spanning Lake Washington, you’ll experience the handiwork of the workers of BMT-Northwest.
They built the structural steel framework to hold the cement forms to create the pontoons for the replacement bridge that connects Seattle and Bellevue and are currently blasting and priming all the steps and seating structure for the University of Washington’s new stadium, said Rollie Irwin, BMT-Northwest’s vice president of manufacturing, who says the shop at Satsop Business Park on Fuller Hill now employs 55 workers.
Irwin said these kind of big jobs are a natural for BMT-Northwest, which is one of the largest steel fabrication plants in the nation, operating inside a building once meant to house twin steam turbine generators for the never-finished WPPSS nuclear plants. Its crane capacity – it can move a million pounds in a single lift – and easy access to its own barge slip mean the company is capable of shipping oversized components anywhere in the world, he said.
“For the structural steel framework for the pontoons, the contractor, Kiewit, needed a huge number of tons of iron and they needed to have it quickly,” Irwin said. “We were able to get 800 tons of new steel processed in a short time for the first phase of the project. Then we re-modified another 400 pieces of existing heavy steel frames for future phases of the project,” he said.
For the Husky stadium seating job for Canron Western Constructors, BMT-Northwest is using its huge blast room and paint booth – each of them 25 feet wide, 29 feet high and 60 feet long – to blast and prime all the steps and seating structure for the stadium. They will continue working on this project through August or September, Irwin said.
“We got the job because of the huge size of our paint booth,” Irwin said. “From the beginning, because of our size here, the idea was to build an additional business unit within a business unit. Now more people are becoming aware of what we can offer in blasting and painting in addition to our metal fabrication.”
Also, BMT-Northwest’s shop has opened up more work possibilities by being certified in January by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), which opens it up to bid on Canadian projects.
To receive the certification, the shop itself was audited and five of the welders underwent both a written and practical exam to certify them to work on Canadian projects, Irwin said.
“We are presently working on five projects for the Canadian market and this past week sent our first loads of steel to Canada. One of the projects requires a very special and sophisticated stainless steel called AL6XN. We are presently bidding several large projects that we couldn’t have even qualified for without this certification,” Irwin said.
“This certification will continue to have a lot of effect on our workload in the future,” he added.
Satsop Business Park is a 1,700-acre mixed-use business and technology park located in scenic Grays Harbor County in Southwest Washington just 30 minutes from Olympia and the I-5 corridor. It is home to more than 30 businesses, offers 440 acres of developed, pad-ready land and buildings supported by super-sized infrastructure and surrounded by 1,200 acres of sustainable managed forestland.
The Park is managed by the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority, a public corporation whose mission is to create new jobs and investment for the region. More information on Satsop Business Park can be found at www.Satsop.com.