Heavy rains have halted major earthmoving work at Volkswagen’s planned plant site at Enterprise South industrial park for the rest of the week.
But contractors are readying a so-called trailer city next to the building site to hold the large numbers of companies and workers who will soon be raising the $1 billion plant.
“There will be a bunch of trailers,” said Steve Leach, the city of Chattanooga’s public works administrator. “It’s big.”
Mr. Leach said the building pads for the 1.9 million-square-foot plant are essentially ready.
Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga auto assembly plant will have 1,600 hourly workers and 400 salaried jobs.
“We’re in pretty good shape for the main pad,” he said.
A Volkswagen Group of America official this week lauded the work done so far.
“If you go out to Enterprise South, you recognize just how much has been accomplished,” said Michael Beamish, VW’s executive vice president for human resources. “But you also recognize how much still needs to be done.”
While no major dirt moving will continue until the site starts to dry, Mr. Leach said soaking rains permit officials to gauge how well the new creek system on the 1,340-acre parcel is working. As part of the massive earthwork, two small creeks were diverted to run around the plant site.
Other work was proceeding despite the weather. Mr. Leach said workers are removing trees and grinding stumps, and there is fencing that needs to go up.
Meanwhile, gravel is being trucked in to prepare land for the trailers southwest of where the plant will go.
“When all the contractors arrive on site, they’ve got a place to be,” Mr. Leach said. He said there will be a “welcome center reception area” and a location for medical personnel.
Mr. Beamish said construction on the building will continue through the end of 2009. Equipment installation will start in mid-2009 with the paint shop, he said.
A full trial of the assembly plant’s system will begin in late 2010 with production in early 2011.
“That’s our aggressive time line.” Mr. Beamish said.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...