Puget Sound Bridge Yards (also known as Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company) was established in 1898 and closed its doors forever in 1987. Covering eighteen acres, this shipyard resides on Harbor Island in Seattle, Washington. In the eighty-nine years of its existence, the Puget Sound Bridge Yards employed thousands of workers. At the time it was closed, it was called the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company.
Between the 1930s and 1986, Lockheed focused on ship construction. When the shipyard was closed down, it was embroiled in a terrible labor dispute which led to the owners locking out over seven hundred employees who refused to comply with a new contract that required huge cuts in wages and benefits. The shipyard is, even today, still trying to settle disputes from employees, including those about health problems resulting from exposure to toxic substances.
Although a reopening was attempted (with a new owner), it was not successful. In 1989, the Port of Seattle agreed to buy the site, but it was determined that a repair facility was unnecessary. Locals might recognize the most distinctive feature of the shipyard, a huge green crane. The crane, which was built in 1933, was able to raise up to two hundred and fifty tons. Visible from great distances, the crane is eighty feet wide and two hundred and fifty feet high.
Anyone who has worked at a Puget Sound Bridge Yard was likely exposed to asbestos. This substance, known for its fire retardant properties is linked to pleural mesothelioma. The signs of this disease can go unnoticed for up to 30 - 40 years. Unfortunately by the time a diagnosis occurs, the disease is in its later stages. If you know anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer as a result of working at the shipyard, please fill out our form for more information.