ROME, Ga. (Sept. 14)—Pirelli Tire North America has started construction on its $140 million tire factory in Rome, with production start-up set for mid-2002. Site clearing for the new plant began in March, but groundbreaking for the factory was held Sept. 10. Pirelli awarded the design and building contract for the 400,000-sq.ft. structure to H&M Co. Inc. of Jackson, Tenn. The building will house manufacturing, offices and research facilities. Pirelli is providing engineering services. Initially, the plant will be equipped with four Modular Integrated Robotized System modules, each capable of producing approximately one tire every three minutes. Pirelli plans to add a total of fifteen modules. At full capacity in about three years, the operation will employ 55 corporate and 250 production workers.