Completion of bridge to mark Volkswagen milestone in Chattanooga

Completion of bridge to mark Volkswagen milestone in Chattanooga

March 1st, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press Work continues Tuesday on a pedestrian bridge being built to link the training center with the main building at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant.

Completion next month of the novel pedestrian bridge at the Volkswagen auto assembly plant will mark a milestone as the last major construction work at the factory site.

Officials said Monday that work will start this week to pour the concrete floor on the $7.25 million, 850-foot span and guardhouse that will serve as the main gateway to the plant.

"We're moving along," said Steve Leach, the city's public works administrator, at a meeting of the Chattanooga Industrial Development Board. The city, Hamilton County and the state are funding the bridge as part of VW's incentive package.

Leach said the plant's market delivery options building, where custom items such as spoilers or special wheels will be installed on vehicles before shipment, is undergoing interior work. That building, costing $8.18 million, is adjacent to the main factory.

Leach said the MDO Building should be ready in three to four weeks.

VW is aiming to start production of its all-new Passat in about four weeks.

Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW's operations in Chattanooga, said a lot of ideas were put into developing the steel-and-glass pedestrian bridge.

While that caused it to be later in the plant's construction timeline, "we really wanted to have a nice bridge."

While the bridge will essentially mark completion of the plant, the last structure related to the VW project to go up will be a welcome center. But that will be placed near the Volkswagen Drive-Interstate 75 interchange. Plant work started in late 2008.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.