More round­abouts com­ing

The Covington News - - Front Page - Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

New­ton County will get a sec­ond round­about, at the in­ter­sec­tion of U.S. High­way 278 and Ga. High­way 142 South.

The state will pay for the con­struc­tion and the county will pay for light­ing and main­te­nance, based on an agree­ment ap­proved Tues­day by The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

The county cur­rently pays a sher­iff’s of­fice deputy to di­rect traf­fic at the in­ter­sec­tion on Sun­days when the nu­mer­ous churches in the area let out.

Only driv­ers com­ing from High­way 142 have to stop at the in­ter­sec­tion. About 12,450 cars drive on that stretch of U.S. 278 ev­ery day, and 6,790 travel on Ga. 142, ac­cord­ing to County En­gi­neer Tom Gar­rett.

Also Tues­day, the board ap­proved spend­ing $25,000 of 2011 SPLOST money to im­prove Air­port Road.

The county pub­lic works depart­ment will widen the aprons at the en­trance of Air­port Road from Ga. High­way 142 North so that buses can more eas­ily en­ter and exit Air­port Road at the new Flint Hill El­e­men­tary.

The apron widen­ing is only a tem­po­rary fix but is needed be­fore the school opens in early Au­gust. The county will have to have a deputy to di­rect traf­fic dur­ing peak school hours un­til the Air­port Road and Ga. 142 in­ter­sec­tion can be widened and re­aligned, Gar­rett said. The in­ter­sec­tion widen­ing is ex­pected to start later this year and be com­pleted in early 2012 and will also be paid for by 2011 SPLOST money.

All of air­port road will have to be widened and re­habbed dur­ing the 2012 sum­mer school break so that the road will be able to with­stand the con­stant weight of school buses.

The board also ap­proved a 75-cent fee be­ing added to the cost of pre­paid wire­less phone in New­ton County.

The fee is part of a state law that will take ef­fect Jan. 1. It will be col­lected like sales tax and dis­trib­uted to 911 cen­ters based on the pop­u­la­tion size they serve.

Mike Smith, di­rec­tor of the 911 cen­ter, said he did not know how much his cen­ter would re­ceive in rev­enue but said he hoped it would even­tu­ally re­duce the amount of money paid by the city and county to op­er­ate the cen­ter.

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