Volvo expansion project will bring sales jobs to Shippensburg plant
Apr 04, 2012 (Menafn - The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Volvo Construction Equipment is in the early stages of a 100 million dollar expansion project that will move its sales headquarters from Asheville, N.C., to the Shippensburg area plant location in Franklin County.
Shippensburg Mayor Bruce Hockersmith said the local manufacturing plant is already the North American Headquarters for Volvo and the newest addition to the plant will include 220 sales jobs. Expansion at the plant will also include a demonstration facility and production improvements.
"The benefits of this project go beyond the physical expansion," Franklin County Area Development Corporation President Mike Ross said. "We are seeing considerable investments that will benefit Shippensburg, Franklin County and the state."
Already employing more than 800 people, Volvo is a major employer in the area, said this expansion will bring jobs, revenue, growth and probably some problems to the Shippensburg area, Hockersmith said.
One of those problems is traffic. At certain points in the afternoon traffic on King Street slows to a crawl as rush hour volume increases. Hockersmith attributes that congestion to King Street being the main street through town.
"We are going to have to adjust to increased traffic," Hockersmith said. As a borough, we are going to have to look at the possibility of creating additional traffic arteries."
A while back, borough council considered constructing a loop around the south side of town, but they decided the cost would not be worth the benefit.
"The biggest thing is that we would have to build bridges over the railroad tracks," Hockersmith said. "There may still be a possibility of doing something with that."
Although there are no current plans to do a loop around town, the council has initiated a traffic synchronization plan. The plan includes replacing the outdated traffic lights throughout town with more advanced computer controlled systems that have a traffic sensing camera.
The system currently in place relies on pressure sensors placed under the pavement, but the sensors don't respond to things like bicycles, motorcycles and buggies. The new camera system will.
Volvo spokesperson Meg Dameren said Congressman Bill Shuster announced a 500,000 federal grant to make roadway improvements at the intersection of Rowe Road and Route 11 Tuesday. Dameren said turning lanes and a traffic light are expected to be in place by this time next year.
Roadway improvements at the intersection will tie into the borough's synchronization plan and help to safely manage the increased flow of traffic from the Volvo plant.
Hockersmith said there are positive aspects of Volvo's expansion, as well as some that have the potential to be negative impacts.
The 100 million dollars of construction is an investment in the area and there are bound to be businesses and jobs that will spring up around Volvo, Hockersmith said. In his opinion, the positives are worth bearing the negatives.
"If you want to maintain the rural character of Ship, it detracts from that, but if you want economic growth it certainly is a good thing," Hockersmith said. "We have to be ready as a borough to accept the responsibility."
Posted earlier on Cumberlink:
The Volvo Construction Equipment company is moving its North Carolina operations to Shippensburg, supplying the area with hundreds of more jobs, according to the Associated Press.
ABC27 additionally reported that the project is a 100 million expansion to move the North American headquarters to the Shippensburg plant in Franklin County. Congressmen Bill Shuster and Senator Rich Alloway were both at the site Tuesday to announce a 500,000 federal grant to be used to install a traffic light at Route 11 and Rowe Road by the end of the year as construction begins on the plant.
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