Author: The Panolian, Sr., John Howell
Construction soon to follow Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting at the Superior Asphalt, Inc. site on Highway 35 North will build a plant initially to manufacture materials for a $17 million contract to mill and overlay Interstate 55 from State Route 330 to the Panola/Yalobusha county line.
Batesville aldermen in September approved a rezoning of property at I-55 and Highway 35 that precipitated Superior’s purchase of about 25 acres for the site.
City officials subsequently approved construction of a $200,000 pipeline to transport natural gas to fuel the asphalt production. The Panola Partnership located a grant through the Mississippi Development Authority that provided $125,000 for the pipeline construction. The city’s application for the grant Gouras Urban Planning Consultants was successful, and city officials recently received formal notification of the grant award. The Partnership and the City will split the remaining cost of construction, estimated at about $37,500 each.
“This is a good, solid company,” Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons said. “They’re here for the long haul.” Simmons said that the Batesville plant will give the company a base of operations from which they would have easy access to all of northwest Mississippi.
Superior Asphalt is a wholly-owned entity of Mississippi’s Yates Companies. The company expects to employ 50 to 60 people in the manufacture and transportation of asphalt, according to information provided by Superior project manager Brad Lewis.
The aggregates heated at the plant do not produce an odor, according to Lewis’ information and the plant will produce very little noise.