STIM­U­LUS

The Covington News - - Front page -

be­cause of the growth in that area.

“It’s hard to re­mem­ber, but there was noth­ing up there even five years ago and now look at the all the stuff be­ing built up there. When the econ­omy im­proves there will be 10 times as much built there,” he said.

The project is ex­pected to be bid out by GDOT in Novem­ber and will con­sist of resur­fac­ing and widen­ing the Ga. 142 and U.S. 278 in­ter­sec­tion and sur­round­ing area, GDOT As­sis­tant Area En­gi­neer Robert Moon said pre­vi­ously. Ga. 142, from the Wendy’s south past 278 down to the en­trance of In­gles, and U.S. 278, from Mamie’s Kitchen west be­yond the old Wal-Mart, will both be widened to a to­tal of four lanes and will have me­di­ans and turn­ing lanes added. Moon said the project is ex­pected to take up to 24 months to com­plete.

In ad­di­tion, City Man­ager Steve Horton said pre­vi­ously that Cov­ing­ton is go­ing to be re­ceiv­ing around $3 mil­lion in stim­u­lus money to cover the cost of mov­ing ex­ist­ing city util­ity in­fra­struc­ture at the in­ter­sec­tion, in­clud­ing wa­ter and gas pipes and elec­tri­cal equip­ment.

Wal­ter said that the project will im­prove the county’s roads and pro­vide a lo­cal eco­nomic boost.

“It’s a win-win for ev­ery­body. Hope­fully some lo­cal com­pany will win the bid and put lo­cal peo­ple to work,” he said.

Al­though the Ga. 142, U.S. 278 project is by far the largest, sev­eral smaller road projects are also be­ing cov­ered by stim­u­lus money. On Tues­day, the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice an­nounced nearly

rapid $5 mil­lion in fund­ing for four projects.

A lit­tle more than $2 mil­lion will be pro­vided for the reg­u­lar resur­fac­ing of the other por­tion of Ga. 142, the sec­tion that runs south from U.S. 278 to the Jasper County line. Ac­cord­ing to the GDOT Web site, the pave­ment has been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, and the road was last resur­faced in 1988.

Ex­actly $1.5 mil­lion will be pro­vided for the up­grad­ing of In­dus­trial Blvd., from the In­dus­trial Drive in­ter­sec­tion to U.S. 278. This money was al­lo­cated to New­ton County in June from the ARC, but the county didn’t de­cide to spend it on In­dus­trial Blvd. un­til Au­gust, Wal­ter said.

He said this project was cho­sen be­cause In­dus­trial Blvd. is be­com­ing more and more used by in­dus­tries lo­cated on the road and by driv­ers seek­ing a route around Wal-Mart to get to the exit 93 in­ter­change. He said C.R. Bard and other in­dus­tries have been men­tion­ing fu­ture plans to ex­pand.

“Right now it works fine, but we know it won’t work as there is more de­vel­op­ment and traf­fic at the in­ter­change,” he said.

Wal­ter said the county would like to spend around $4 mil­lion on the road, but with the $1.5 mil­lion it has it will be able to add a mid­dle, turn-only lane on part of the road, build an un­der­ground drainage sys­tem, in­stall some side­walks and curb­ing and resur­face the road.

“Ex­ist­ing busi­nesses are fairly close to the road and the drainage is not great in the ditches. There are no pipes, the road is in need of resur­fac­ing, there are no curbs — it’s just not an ur­ban road,” he said. “Th­ese ma­jor im­prove­ments to the road should last for at least five to 10 years.”

This project is ex­pected to be bid out in spring 2010.

A lit­tle more than $1 mil­lion is be­ing set aside for im­prove­ments to the in­ter­sec­tion of Spring and Salem roads. Wal­ter said a traf­fic sig­nal at the in­ter­sec­tion has long been needed, be­cause left turns off of Salem Road have been caus­ing con­ges­tion and ac­ci­dents.

In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the GDOT Web site, Salem Road will be widened six feet sym­met­ri­cally to pro­vide a north bound left turn lane, and Spring Road will be re­lo­cated 80 feet north and re­con­structed to pro­vide one lane west bound and left and right-turn lanes east bound. This project was sched­uled to have been bid out Fri­day.

The fi­nal project is the round­about planned for the in­ter­sec­tion of Turner Lake Road and Clark Street. Stim­u­lus money is cov­er­ing the en­tire $900,000 price tag, with $250,000 of that be­ing cov­ered on be­half of the county, com­ing from its June ARC al­lo­ca­tion. He said the county and city have made it a pri­or­ity to plan to­gether and work to­gether to se­cure lo­cal fund­ing.

The ARC agreed to fund the en­tire cost be­cause they are sup­port­ive of round­abouts as a means to im­prove traf­fic flow, Wal­ter said.

The round­about is be­ing con­structed be­cause a lot of ac­ci­dents oc­cur at the in­ter­sec­tion when driv­ers try to turn left onto Clark Street, Horton said pre­vi­ously. Be­cause round­abouts don’t al­low for pedes­trian cross­ings, an un­der­ground pedes­trian tun­nel will also be built.

With GDOT’s lat­est $331 mil­lion in stim­u­lus al­lo­ca­tions, it has now given out most of the orig­i­nal $932 mil­lion it started out with.

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