Drivers on Hwy. 198 E are being asked to slow down for the next few weeks. The speed limit is being reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph east of the intersection at Multimart. Construction is beginning on the roughly $1.4 million truck entrance to the new Enviva plant which is now also under construction.
The good news is there will be no lane closures, according to George County’s Communications Director Ken Flanagan. “There may be some very short-term delays,” Flanagan said, “as the contractor moves and positions pieces of equipment and materials.”
When the Enviva wood pellet plant is up and running by next year it is expected that up to 200 trucks will be hauling wood into the plant for processing each day. To accommodate that volume of traffic a new eastbound turn lane exiting Hwy. 198E into the plant will be constructed along with a westbound center turn lane.
Most of the money for the project comes from a federal grant. The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the grant two years ago, in 2019. The rest of the funding for this project and major renovation of G.M. Luce Road leading to the south entrance into the pellet plant comes from BP Restore Funding. The BP funding is money paid to the state by BP after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. That money is being distributed among the Mississippi coastal counties, with George County receiving a share.
Flanagan said safety signage went up a month ago. Work will begin this week with drainage improvements in the Hwy. 198 right-of-way.
Drivers are asked to be aware and drive with caution.