In 2015, Volvo announced the construction of its first American manufacturing plant in Berkeley County, SC. The property is within a 6,000-acre rural area with no development infrastructure. Volvo’s goal was to roll its first vehicles off the assembly line in late 2018. The timeline proposed a challenge to not only provide the civil infrastructure needed to produce said vehicle, but support large-scale industrial development with the remaining property.
Thomas & Hutton provided program management, engineering services, and construction management services to prepare the 1,200-acre site for construction of the Volvo facility and associated nine miles of transportation improvements, including ten miles of water main infrastructure, a 750,000-gallon regional water tank, temporary construction facilities, and a 1,150-gpm pump station and 10-inch force main for the regional wastewater infrastructure for surrounding developments. In addition, Thomas & Hutton provided coordination and management of environmental affairs related to permitting, construction, and operations. Pretreatment of industrial wastewater was required on-site to meet the requirements of the Pretreatment Standards for New Sources associated with metal finishing. A wastewater pretreatment system was designed to remove metals, grease, and solids, as well as neutralize the wastewater prior to discharge to the Berkeley County Water & Sanitation (BCWS) sewer system. Thomas & Hutton was responsible for obtaining the Pretreatment Permit from BCWS and the preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) to obtain a Construction Permit from SCDHEC Bureau of Water for the Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment System. Additionally, we prepared the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan, and the Best Management Practices (BMP) Plan for the facility. Thomas & Hutton also conducted employee training related to the environmental plans listed above.
In addition, Thomas & Hutton provided a route survey for the proposed rail line to serve the Camp Hall Industrial Park, which includes the Volvo plant. The line runs from the existing CSX Rail line in Cross, SC to Camp Hall for a total distance of 25 miles. Survey services include establishment of a control baseline, topographic surveys to create base mapping for project design, property surveys, and preparation of plats for acquisition of the new right-of-way, right-of-way monumentation, and centerline staking.
Thomas & Hutton devised a plan that took normal bid-build practices and applied it in an inventive way to create competition and utilize multiple contractors. Thomas & Hutton’s team worked on various aspects of the project – from environmental permitting, to roadway design, to water and wastewater design, and future interchange preliminary design. As projects were completed and permitted, the projects were bid to meet local requirements, allowing local contractors to bid. Providing a concrete plan of action and initiating it allowed for this project to be successful. On schedule for a late 2018 opening, the investment has already reached $500 million and is in process of currently hiring 2,000 workers over the next 10 years. Volvo is already looking to spend an additional $500 million and hire an additional 1,900 workers. The facility is expected to build about 100,000 vehicles per year.