Northampton seeks road improvements for Enviva

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

JACKSON — Northampton County officials are seeking help from the North Carolina General Assembly to construct an industrial access road for the planned Enviva wood pellet facility.

Last week, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in support of an economic development application for the Enviva project to state officials.

“What we are requesting of the General Assembly is their consideration of providing additional funding in support of the Enviva project for the construction of the industrial access road,” said Gary Brown, Northampton County economic development director.

Brown said the access road would extend from State Road 1200 (Lebanon Church Road) westward approximately 1,800 feet to the Enviva project site located on the western portion of the Northampton County Commerce Park.

Brown said the county has worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Rural Center and the Golden LEAF Foundation to assemble funding necessary for infrastructure to serve the Enviva facility. Public staff and project engineers anticipate that additional funding for construction of the industrial access road and improvements to State Road 1200 will be necessary to successfully complete required improvements to the roadway components.

He added the exact cost of the access road has yet to be determined, but a preliminary estimate is that the road could cost up to $750,000.

“We do not anticipate that Northampton County would be contributing any of that cost,” he said.

Commission Vice Chair James Hester moved to approve the resolution. Commissioner Robert Carter offered a second and the measure passed without objection.

Last month, Enviva announced the planned $60 million investment along with Gov. Beverly Perdue. The wood pellet manufacturing facility will result in the creation of more than 60 full-time jobs.