WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Dow Chemical is expanding in West Baton Rouge Parish with two new plants and packaging and distribution centers for the plants. The packaging and distribution centers will be on the southern end of the parish near Addis.
"We have a large warehouse complex that we're building," said Dow Site Integration Leader Larry Rushing.
Rushing said Dow is building a packaging center that will be 350,000 sq. ft. and the distribution center will be 800,000 sq. ft. Both are for the two new plants Dow is building at its current facility.
One plant will make next generation synthetic rubber and the other will make high-performance polyethylene. Combined, Dow said the two new plants are worth $1.2 billion.
"This is our second largest site in the U.S. Freeport, TX is number one, and we're at number two," said Rushing.
Rushing said the packaging and distribution centers will cost $90 million to build and bring 60 to 70 new jobs for the area. Along with the jobs, WBR Parish President Pee-Wee Berthelot said the parish will get sales taxes based off the construction including materials and construction equipment.
"We've been averaging right around $1 to $2 million in surplus revenue over the last two to three years," said Berthelot.
Berthelot said all the revenue is one time money so they can do some one time projects. There's only one issue -- traffic.
Project managers said they have purposely designed it to where all the trucks have to come and go on River Road instead of out to LA 1. The parish president said even though it's a good problem to have, the new construction will still add to the traffic nightmare.
"West Baton Rouge Parish is one of the smallest parishes in the state. We have about 26,000 people living in the parish, that's our total population, and we have 50,000 vehicles that cross LA 1 every day," said Berthelot.
Call it a good problem to have, but traffic will only get worse because the southern part of the parish is only going to expand from here.
The two new plants will start up middle of next year and the packaging and distribution centers should wrap up end of this year.