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Enviva could employ nearly 100 people when completed, director says

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:17 PM CDT
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LUCEDALE, Miss. (WLOX) - In Lucedale, Construction of the Enviva Wood Pellet Manufacturing plant is still ongoing including improvements to roads and railways near the George County Industrial Park.

Crews are constantly at work building the new Enviva plant. George County Economic Director Ken Flanagan said the goal is to have the plant completed by the end of the year.

”When it comes to the transportation, the rail, and all the infrastructure, the county, we’re doing everything in our power to get all of that done when Enviva needs it by the end of the year,” said Flanagan. “That is the reason we got paving going on right now. We’ve got railroad tracks being laid to the south of us. Heck we’re moving water lines today. So. we’re gearing everything up for a big finish in the fourth quarter of this year.”

Flanagan said the road project is necessary in order to handle the influx of traffic around the growing Industrial park.

“We need to build this road project for the future,” said Flanagan. “Not only to handle what Enviva needs right now, but for transportation in this area because this area is growing.”

The wood pellets will actually be moved by train and that means enhancing the railways. Flanagan said the new rail lines are stronger and will be able to handle a heavier weight capacity.

“A railroad authority told me a couple of months ago that what we had, in railroad terms, was a really nice two lane road,” said Flanagan. “We are now going to a full four-lane interstate highway.”

66 freight cars will travel the railroad tracks each day. Transporting wood pellets 46 miles from the Enviva plant to the Port of Pascagoula. Flanagan says from there the wood pellets will head to Asia.

“From the Port of Pascagoula they go to an international terminal from there,” said Flanagan. “So, George County, South Mississippi product, is truly going to be an international export.”

Enviva will employ nearly 100 people. An influx of people that restaurants in downtown Lucedale like the Coffee Pot Cafe are hoping will lead to more customers. Co-owner of Coffee Pot Cafe, Jaron Tipton says it is an exciting time for the town.

“Anytime you see people come in like this, these big companies, it brings more people in,” said Tipton. “As a business owner I’m happy.”

Federal and state grants are helping fund $2 million in improvements to Highway 198.

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