Imperial Sugar completes another major milestone

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - Imperial Sugar plays a major role in our community, supplying jobs for hundreds. Crews are still rebuilding after an explosion killed 14 people and injured dozens in February 2008. Most of production portion of the plant was destroyed, but the company vowed they would rebuild.

At the site crews poured concrete for the new silos, a major milestone.

Things are good, every couple of months there's another milestone and the company has surely moved into the next phase.

From the packaging plant to the new silos, there is lots of construction going on. They even had to stop the production of liquid sugar until the major projects like the packaging facility and silos are finished.

The three silos are now on the other side of the plant so construction crews can work on both projects at the same time and start production sooner. The silos are just about finished, standing 50 feet taller than the old ones and has room to hold more sugar.

They were designed by a company that specializes in explosion suppression and control. We spoke with Imperial Sugar's vice president of technology Brian Harrison, who's been running the plant for the last year, and he says watching these silos go up is a tremendous milestone and very positive sign for the company and community.

"Initially everyone in the community was wondering, 'Are we gonna really do this?'", said Harrison. "And this is a tall tell sign we are going to rebuild this facility, I mean if you look at the construction and effort getting ready."

Harrison says once they should be finished with the silos sometime in late July early August. The first thing they will start on is the bulk production, meaning the bigger industrial customers.

The packaging part of the plant won't be finished until sometime in the fall. The exterior of the 85,000 square foot building is almost finished, and construction crews will start working on the interior in the next few weeks.

But he did say by this time next year, everything will be up and running.

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