State guides development of tire plants
BY COREY DAVIS
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Several officials and employees from the state Department of Transportation came down to Edgecombe County this past week for a first-hand look and brief tour of the Kingsboro Megasite that will be the home of Chinese tire manufacturer Triangle Tire’s first plant in the United States.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced in December that Triangle Tire plans to invest more than $580 million and create 800 high-paying jobs in Edgecombe County and the surrounding area. Norris Tolson, CEO and president of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, later said the full build-out of the project could be a more than $1 billion investment and create more than 1,000 jobs.
Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said the agency understands that economic development projects like Triangle Tire are critical to North Carolina’s economic well-being. Triangle Tire’s future facility, which is touted as the largest manufacturing investment in rural North Carolina, is estimated to contribute more than $2.4 billion to the state’s economy.
“We know that transportation is often one of the most critical components in recruiting companies like Triangle Tire to Edgecombe County,” Trogdon said. “My staff is working closely with the company, the local government and the economic development community to enable Triangle Tire to bring much-needed jobs and opportunity to this region. I’ve been informed the project is on track to open on schedule by the end of 2019.”
Division 4 Engineer Ronald Keeter said DOT is administering the site construction for the Triangle Tire project, which is something different than other projects it’s typically involved with when the agency just does roadway improvements. He added the Triangle Tire plant in Edgecombe County will occupy 480 acres.
Triangle Tire’s two-phase tire manufacturing facility will consist of a passenger tire plant as phase one and a commercial tire plant as phase two. The company expects to complete both phases by 2023. Once both plants reach production capacity, Triangle expects to produce six million tires annually.
“The two facilities are both expected to be one million square foot,” Keeter said.
In February, DOT officials said, the agency awarded a progressive-design-build contract to Barnhill Contracting Co. The first phase of the contract included $12.9 million to do grading and site development on 200 acres. Keeter said the work will be completed sometime this year.
Also, later this year, DOT will negotiate with Barnhill as part of the contract’s second phrase to make road improvements around the site and build a rail spur. DOT will pay for the road work, which is estimated to cost $7 million.
Keeter said crews will construct a new, two-lane access road to the Kingsboro Megasite extending from Kingsboro to U.S. 64 Alt.
In addition, workers will widen Kingsboro Road to three lanes to accomodate a left-turn lane onto the new access road, construct turn lanes on U.S. 64 Alt to allow westbound traffic to turn left onto Kingsboro and to turn left onto Harts Chapel Road and construct a freight access road for trucks leaving the megasite from Harts Mill Run Road.