(New Carlisle, IN) - Equipment is being deployed and dirt is about to be moved in preparation for a massive construction project east of New Carlisle.
According to St. Joseph County Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol, General Motors took possession of a 660-acre parcel on S.R. 2 last month. An electric car battery plant is going there.
This week heavy equipment started arriving at the site. “They’ve started fencing off some of the entrance locations, so the roadways are closed into the site, and they’ve got some security onsite,” Schalliol said. A fleet of construction trailers will roll in this week and next, as a “trailer city” is put in place. “A lot of preconstruction work right now,” Schalliol explained. “As soon as they get construction headquarters set up, they’re going to turn loose all those construction pieces and start grading the site.”
According to Schalliol, the goal is to get as much excavation done as quickly as possible so the main structure can be worked on over the winter. He says the process will start moving very quickly. “Once they get going, you’re going to see a lot more equipment come to the site—cranes, all sorts of heavy trailers, things like that. It is really going to start taking shape here in the next couple of weeks.”
Work to reroute Niespodziany Ditch around the site has yet to begin. In the meantime, Schalliol says engineers will work around the current and future sites of the ditch as utilities are run for the battery plant.
The lead construction contractor is Detroit-based Barton Malow. “They’re the site managers,” Schalliol said. “They’re well-geared to big projects. They understand the timelines and what’s at stake, very familiar with this type of construction.” Barton Malow recently built two other battery cell plants for General Motors and handled the renovations to Notre Dame Stadium a few years ago.
The $3.5 billion battery plant could employ as many as 1,600 workers when it opens a couple of years from now.