By William Holloman
An effort by the Mount Olive Pickle Company to get a road from NC Highway 55 over to Talton Avenue to ease traffic congestion and provide a better truck route to the company facilities has been endorsed by the Mount Olive Town Board of Commissioners.
The town board last week unanimously approved a resolution supporting the proposal. It is being forwarded to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for consideration.
The proposed road would allow truck traffic off NC 55, just west of the current bridge across Old Mount Olive Highway, to nearby Talton Avenue, about a one-block stretch.
Officials say the project would cost about $500,000, and would not involve any local tax dollars.
Town Manager Charles Brown told the Tribune the proposal is an excellent idea, and much cheaper than another proposed off ramp exit from Highway 55 over to the town’s nearby Industrial Park.
The resolution approved by the board notes that the Pickle Company has experienced significant sales growth, moving from 12.9 million cases to 16.7 million cases over the past five years. That is a 30 percent increase in production. The company has handled the growth with major expansion, including the purchase and renovation of three facilities in the Industrial Park area. The expansions added a total of 300,000 square feet of warehouse space.
The company’s payroll has also skyrocketed during that period of time another 30 percent to $40.8 million annually. That meant an employee enrollment jump from 525 to 600.
The resolution further explains that the pickle company’s recent investments and improvements involving two new production lines will be operation next May. They said it means full-time employment for another 75 to 100 workers.
It also means additional truck traffic. Already, traffic has increased from 28,200 trucks in 2012 to 40,128 last year. Company officials say the truck traffic figures will continue to grow.
The proposed new road is an effort to reduce truck traffic along Breazeale Avenue and other streets surrounding the company’s main manufacturing plant.
The resolution notes the proposal will solve a myriad of traffic congestion problems for both NC DOT and the town.