Bridgestone plant celebrates expansion - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Bridgestone plant celebrates expansion

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As they autograph the first tire produced in the newly expanded Graniteville plant, Bridgestone workers congratulate each other for meeting their tire production deadline.

"We put a lot of work into this, I mean we've been working on this for a while, and to have the first one come off the day that we set, you know it was a good thing," said Edward Brown, a 14-year employee.

On Monday the plant celebrated completion of the first phase of a three-part expansion for the facility.

"April 1st was the day we knew we had to get the first tire on the tire assembly machine, also the first curing press and the guys nailed it," said John Stewart, plant manager of the facility.

Soon these machines will go into production, pumping out nearly 38,000 tires per day; that's 13.4 million tires a year. The project is a $346 million dollar investment. 

"We have a great workforce here in Aiken County and the surrounding counties," Stewart said.

And the tire manufacturing corporation plans to pull more skilled workers into the plant. They'll continue the facility's expansion in order to meet the growing demand in the market. Nearly 300 full-time jobs will be created from the expansion.

This is the completion of the first phase of the plant in Aiken County. The third phase is already underway, and is expected to be complete in 2015.

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