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Maker of prefabricated bridge parts coming to Washington County, Va.

staff report • Jul 11, 2012 at 3:02 AM

ABINGDON — A bridge manufacturing company plans to locate in Washington County, Va., and bring with it 32 new jobs over the next three years.

Big R Bridge — which develops engineered solutions in steel bridges, corrugated metal structures, retaining wall systems and corrugated pipe — will invest $1.9 million to locate at the former Lynchburg Steel facility in Washington County. The company will manufacture prefabricated bridge parts.

Virginia successfully competed against South Carolina for the project. “It is tremendous news that Big R Bridge will establish its first Virginia operation in Washington County,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a news release. “This strategic location offers easy access to major Interstates 81 and 77, allowing the company to easily expand its U.S. footprint into new East Coast markets. We welcome Big R Bridge to the commonwealth and are confident in the company’s future growth and success.”

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling joined business and government leaders Tuesday on the governor’s behalf to announce the project in Washington County. “Governor McDonnell and I have made economic development and job creation in Southwest Virginia a priority since we took office, and this project is another indication that our efforts are paying off,” Bolling said.

Headquartered in Greeley, Colo., Big R Bridge is a subsidiary of Atlantic Industries Limited, based in New Brunswick, Canada. Big R Bridge has been supplying prefabricated bridges and custom-engineered products across America for more than 40 years. The company has handled more than 10,000 installations to date and created over 300 bridges a year. All products are custom engineered to site conditions, and the company has the in-house capability to provide design, engineering and fabrication on an accelerated schedule.

“This project marks an important step in Big R Bridge’s expansion plans to the Eastern U.S. We are excited to be partnering with the state of Virginia and making Washington County the location of our next bridge manufacturing facility,” said Cameron Klein, president and CEO of Big R Bridge. “The pro-business philosophy that Virginia has exhibited coupled with the extensive local support we have received made this an easy decision for our company’s long-term investment in Washington County.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Washington County and Virginia’s aCorridor to secure the project for Virginia. McDonnell approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Washington County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also approved $125,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.

“Washington County is pleased that Big R Bridge has selected the former Lynchburg Steel facility for its first Eastern U.S. location,” said Joe Straten, chairman of the Washington County Board of Supervisors. “This project matches the company with a former steel facility and creates valuable jobs for our citizens — truly a win-win for the community and the comp a n y. ”

“I thank Big R Bridge for their investment in Virginia,” said Delegate Terry Kilgore, chairman of the Tobacco Commission. “We work tirelessly to create jobs in our region, and this is a good day for our area.”

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