A transportation and logistics company that covers the world plans to start construction on a truck training and maintenance facility in Palmer Township, possibly by February or March.
The facility is a project of Werner Enterprises Inc., based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Located at Tatamy Road and Newlins Mill Road in Palmer Township, the building will be 67,000 square feet and sit on 50 acres of land the company owns.
The project is estimated to cost more than $30 million, said Randy Kraft, director of facilities for Werner Enterprises. He anticipates construction would take nine months, putting the facility’s opening at possibly the end of the year.
“We will have about 40 employees when we open and that could grow over the next two to three years by about 10 percent,” Kraft said. “We hire a lot of drivers in the market.”
Werner Enterprises bought the land, comprised of two farms, several years ago and will use only a portion for the truck facility, he said. It plans to keep the other portion in agriculture, he added.
Werner will primarily use the site to perform maintenance on equipment, hire new drivers, and offer a safe place for drivers to park their trucks, Kraft said. Other amenities will include training simulators, lounges, showers, a laundry facility and workout room.
Werner Enterprises plans to hire about 100 drivers per month that go through professional training at the facility, said Angelo Gibson, associate vice president of operations at Werner Enterprises.
Werner Enterprises has been working on building a training and maintenance facility for several years in the region, Kraft said. It also leases a smaller terminal on Oakview Drive in Upper Macungie Township.
The Palmer Township site offers proximity to Route 33 and Interstate 78, as well as Route 80 to the north.
But the catalyst for Werner was the opening in 2015 of the Charles Chrin Interchange, which created a new access point to Route 33 from Palmer Township and led to development of an industrial park on the land surrounding it.
“A very large factor was the opening of the interchange,” Kraft said. “This provided access to land that was suitable to our purposes. It’s obviously become a very large hub for transportation.”
The general contractor for the project is Blue Rock Construction of Upper Macungie Township and the architect is Portner Hetke Architects of Emmaus.
Liberty Engineering of Upper Macungie Township is the civil engineer.