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IDA approves bid for I-16 tract road
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Work could begin soon on the Effingham Industrial Development Authority’s Interstate 16 northern tract entrance road.
IDA members approved a bid from Mill Creek Construction for $1.516 million. The company has 180 days to commence work once it receives

the notice to proceed, and IDA project manager Tre Wilkins said at the IDA’s Feb. 18 meeting that the company could start in a couple of weeks.

The IDA received five bids ranging from $1.7 million to $2.2 million and held a bid opening Jan. 27.

“The contractors were notified that at our discretion we could revise the scope of the work for the budget parameters we had set up,” Wilkins said. “The major scope change was the original plans were drawn for a 4,000-foot road. We made the decision to revise that to only have a 3,000-foot road. That’s the difference of about $200,000.”

The 3,000 feet from Old River Road will connect with an existing logging road on the site. Once the road is completed and inspected, the county is expected to take ownership of the road. The county will issue the land disturbing activity permits and be a part of the pre-construction meeting, Wilkins added.

Under the recommendation of engineering firm Hussey, Gay and Bell, the IDA negotiated with the low bidder for the $1.516 million price.

“It was a real competitive bid,” Wilkins said.

The IDA also paid for additional geotechnical samples to make sure the road base was suitable for heavy industrial use, IDA CEO John Henry said.

“The pavement design was beefed up to handle heavier trucks and more trucks,” Wilkins said.

Under the original terms of its agreement with Moon River Studios, the IDA was to make a contribution of $1.395 million to the studioplex project. Under a revised deal, the IDA will build the road into the land, and the studio’s lease was reduced from 1,560 acres to 51 acres.

Also on the to-do list is running power to the well site. Without permanent power at the well, no monitoring or chlorine systems can be installed.
Henry also met recently with DRT, the French-based firm that will build a turpentine-processing facility on the IDA’s Governor Treutlen tract in the Effingham Industrial Park.

“They are ramping up their site development process and getting ready to apply for land disturbance permits,” Henry said.

Henry and DRT president Corey Schneider have discussed a potential groundbreaking ceremony date, and it could be held April 5. Henry said he did not think the company will have the land disturbance permits in hand by that date but they could hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on that date.

The plant will take about a year to build and hiring for the facility is expected to take place later this year. The initial workforce will be about 30 to 35 employees and eventually will be 40 to 45.