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NORFOLK, VA-Ford Motor Co. has begun a $375 million industrial construction project here. The project, to be completed by mid-2002, will expand the automobile manufacturer’s plant by 350,000 sf.

In a statement, Ford said site preparation for the construction had begun early this year and Graycor Industrial Constructors began some work as early as April. Other members of the team include designer and engineer Gala & Associates, civil engineer M&M Design and mechanical services provider Tri-Tech LLC. By June of next year, the company said it hopes to have equipment in place to begin manufacturing 2003 models of its F-150 pickup truck there.

The plant here opened in 1925 and in 2000 it manufactured about 240,000 F-Series pickup trucks. Currently, about 2,300 people are employed there.

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