North Louisiana manufacturer Fibrebond, which creates building material for data centers and the telecommunications industry, decided against relocating its facility from Minden after state leaders agreed to fast track road improvements nearby.
Fibrebond employs about 750 workers at the plant and has been lobbying for the state to prioritize road construction for the past few months. The company was offered incentives in Texas to relocate the plant and suggested that it would leave if the road improvements were not prioritized.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development now expects to build a 50-mile heavy-truck route from Minden to Texas that can support overweight and over-height trucks.
It also expects to lower the U.S. 80 underpass at the intersection of Interstate 20 in eastbound and westbound lanes, which would allow trucks at least 17.5 feet high to pass. The U.S. 80 bridge is being rebuilt and the state is starting a replacement program for eight other bridges.
Louisiana's economic development department is chipping in $2.5 million in rapid response funds for the state to pay for the road infrastructure project. It also is giving $250,000 to support training efforts at Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College for welders, electricians and industrial maintenance workers.
"Fibrebond has been fighting to stay in Louisiana, not fighting to leave," said Graham Walker, CEO of Fibrebond in a letter posted to its Facebook page. "I committed that if Louisiana would support our work with public infrastructure, we could pass on significant economic incentives offered by others."