HAMMOND | Munster Steel's relocation to Hammond is moving along as planned, with the company expecting to start construction on its new facility this year.
Munster Steel announced plans to move to the West Point Plaza Industrial Park in Hammond in 2011. The new site is north of FedEx near Gostlin Street and White Oak Avenue.
Hammond officials have met with the company recently to go over site plans to determine places where it may need tweaking, said Phil Taillon, executive director of the city's Department of Planning and Development.
“They definitely should be able to begin construction in 2013,” Taillon said. “At this point, when you are going over details for a site plan, you are getting very close to getting a shovel in the ground.”
Ronald Robbins, president emeritus of Munster Steel, said Monday it was too early to give specific dates on when construction will begin. Another company official said it was undetermined when the Munster facility will close.
Munster Steel, which was founded in 1957, is a private company that fabricates structural steel, steel parts and iron.
Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. has praised Munster Steel's decision to move to Hammond, saying it would bring “high-paying jobs” to the city.
The relocation will clear the way for Munster to launch a realignment project at the 45th Street and Calumet Avenue intersection, according to Munster Clerk-Treasurer Dave Shafer. Plans call to build underpasses for both roads to go underneath railroad tracks.
The land Munster Steel currently occupies will be redeveloped, though those plans haven't been formalized yet, Shafer said.
Once Munster Steel is razed, 45th Street will initially be extended about 600 feet to the east from where it intersects with Calumet Avenue and will run south of the tracks.
The timetable for the project is likely 2014, Shafer said. The road eventually will extend through the Munster Steel site, underpass the railroad tracks and re-emerge near Southwood Drive.
The 45th Street underpass could begin in 2015, with the Calumet Avenue overpass having a projected start date of 2017, Shafer said.