Hyundai A Year Away From Firing Up Production Line - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

March 12, 2004

Hyundai A Year Away From Firing Up Production Line

It's starting to come together in south Montgomery. First, the new Hyundai Boulevard overpass leading to the plant.

"We'll have it wrapped up by May," says Project Manager Shane Parker.

At six foot eight, Parker towers over the people working on the overpass. A big man with a really big job, a $10 million dollar project that stretches from Highway 331 to Highway 31.

"It really wasn't much of a problem.. just flat land," Parker says.

Further down the road, the real star of the show. The Hyundai manufacturing facility is starting to look like, well, a manufacturing plant.

"We're about 75% complete," says Hyundai spokesman Bill Lang.

It was during our interview with Bill Lang when we spotted something huge. You couldn't miss it. An enormous truck carrying a part of the massive stamping press. Lang used our news car to give us an idea what this thing is supposed to do.

"It'll stamp car panels like doors and hoods and produce one every 4 seconds,' says Lang.

It'll be two years to the day on April 1 when we all found out Montgomery had landed Hyundai. Some people still can't believe it. People like Gaines Slade, a Hope Hull business owner.

"I remember the night I found out. I was like a kid in a candy store. I think in about 10 years this area will be a little city," predicts Slade.

Despite occasional bumps in the road with weather delays, this massive plant worth one billion dollars is on schedule. Construction workers are getting ready for the final lap to production.

In a way, Shane Parker will be sorry to finish his job on the overpass because he believes he's been part of something very special for the last 2 years.

"When I drive by I'll be able to say I was part of that," Parker says.

Lang says by the end of the month, Hyundai will have hired some 450 employees. At full production, 2,000 people will be on the payroll. The overwhelming majority, says Lang, will be Alabamians.

Reporter: Bryan Henry

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