Even as the company works to remove structures that are no longer in use because of its 2019 partial closures in Crossett, Georgia Pacific-Crossett announced plans to invest approximately $38.5 million in the remaining operations this year.

The funds will be directed to infrastructure repairs, building upgrades, and improvements to equipment on three of the paper lines.

GP will likewise put the money toward Information Technology improvements, significantly focusing on wireless data processing across the operations, including on the machine floors, as part of a streamlining and efficiency process. A GP spokesperson said the IT work will allow the company to track data in real-time, and will be in place in Crossett by the end of the year.

The IT project is part of a nationwide GP initiative, and will give the company more flexibility in a world in which digital information is increasingly embedded.

Customers “will benefit as we reduce systems and adopt emerging technologies more rapidly,” the spokesperson said.

Looking from the future to the past, the company is beginning a multi-year project that will include the removal of equipment, buildings and railroad lines associated with operations no longer in use in Crossett.

The rail lines — nearly 10 miles of track — will be around the extrusion plant, U.S. 82, and inside the mill complex.

By not having to maintain the tracks, the company will save approximately $500,000 annually, the spokesperson said.

The buildings that are being removed are those that are no longer needed for tissue and towel manufacturing operations.

“Our commitment to our employees, contractors, and community is for a safe, orderly, and environmentally responsible project,” the spokesperson said. 

“We know that as this project continues, the work will alter the skyline of Crossett, so we will continue to communicate with our employees and the community as each phase begins.”

The demolition phase began on July 12, and is anticipated to end in the first quarter of 2022. Demolition hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturdays.

While the demolition is expected to increase traffic, the spokesperson said the company has opened a gate at the old woodyard entrance off Hancock Road to alleviate some of the congestion.