Regional Report Eastern January 2014
Bonner Bridge’s toll changes with the season
Hatteras Island businesses hope the latest sand to settle under the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge won’t shift for some time. On Dec. 3, N.C. Department of Transportation closed the 50-year-old bridge — which provides the only road access from the northern Outer Banks and mainland to the island via N.C. 12 — after discovering that water had scoured sand from some pilings, compromising the structure’s stability. It reopened 12 days later, after sand dredged from Oregon Inlet had steadied the pilings, but the closing cost Outer Banks communities more than $1.3 million in tourism, Hans Vogelsong says.
FARMVILLE — Natural Blend Vegetable Hydration will invest $12 million over three years to open a plant here that will employ as many as 57 workers. Wages will average $38,123, nearly 13% higher than Pitt County’s average. The company, which dehydrates vegetables for use in food products, is a subsidiary of Snow Hill-based Ham Produce Co., a sweet-potato farming operation.
AURORA — As part of an 18% companywide workforce reduction, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan laid off 85 people here in December. That’s about 10% of the employees at PCS Phosphate, the Canadian company’s local mining and processing operation, which is Beaufort County’s largest employer.
CLINTON — Tortona, Italy-based Biochemtex will open a biofuel refinery in Sampson County, creating 65 jobs and investing $200 million over three years. The plant, which will begin production in 2016, will make ethanol from wild grasses and other locally grown energy crops. Annual pay will average $47,000, higher than Sampson County’s average of $30,822.