SUMTER, S.C., Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) celebrated a significant milestone in the construction process of its Greenfield site in Sumter, South Carolina today as the last steel beam of the basic structure was secured in the 1 million-square-foot production facility. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130219/DE62239 ) Event attendees, including South Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Bobby Hitt, were able to see first-hand how far construction has progressed at the 330-acre site since the groundbreaking ceremony just eleven months ago. "Today's milestone celebration at Continental Tire puts us one step closer to filling up the middle of South Carolina with tires," said South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. "There is nothing more satisfying than to see that final steel beam bolted into place. It signifies the progress and commitment of a German tire powerhouse that has tipped the scales to position South Carolina as the number one tire producer in the world. We celebrate with Continental today. This is progress, and represents the job opportunity and economic vitality Continental is bringing to South Carolina." Construction continues to remain on schedule and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. In addition, a number of milestones have been met in the recent months. One essential milestone includes the delivery and installation of the first pieces of machinery, which will soon contribute to the production of Continental and General brand passenger and light truck tires in Sumter. "I would like to congratulate our general contractor, Walbridge-Mashburn, on the significant progress made on key areas of the plant including the mixing, tire building, stock preparation, curing, final finish and warehouse areas," said Craig Baartman, Sumter plant manager. "In addition, thank you for working hard to ensure we reached today's key construction milestone of the installation of the final beam in the facility structure. This is quite an accomplishment considering we just began construction at the site this past June." By early 2014, the plant is expected to begin production and will eventually reach a production capacity of approximately five million units per year by 2017. A second phase is expected to bring the plant's full production capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021.