Ga. 212 to get more stop lights

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

One of New­ton County’s most trav­eled roads, Ga. High­way 212, is be­ing widened in spots to al­low for turn lanes to im­prove traf­fic flow at and be­tween the in­ter­sec­tions of Oak Hill and Bethany/But­ler Bridge roads.

The state’s $2.28 mil­lion con­struc­tion pro­ject be­gan Aug. 6 with the clear­ing of right of way for widen­ing and is sched­uled to go through July 31, 2014, ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia Dept. of Trans­porta­tion’s (GDOT) on­line de­scrip­tion. GDOT spokes­woman Cissy McNure said the pro­ject will con­sist of:

• Right and left turn lanes on Ga. 212 at the Bethany/But­ler Bridge roads in­ter­sec­tion

• Turn lanes on Ga. 212 at the Oak Hill Road in­ter­sec­tion

• A cen­ter turn lane on Ga. 212 from the Bethany Road in­ter­sec­tion to Denny Dobbs Park

• A re­place­ment traf­fic sig­nal at the Ga. 212 and Oak Hill Road in­ter­sec­tion

The orig­i­nal pro­ject de­sign called for a traf­fic sig­nal at the Ga. 212 and Bethany/But­ler Bridge roads in­ter­sec­tion, but that part of the pro­ject has been scrapped for now.

The area has more traf­fic be­cause of the ad­di­tion of Denny Dobbs Park and the Porter Me­mo­rial Branch Li­brary in re­cent years, and Ga. 212 had an aver­age daily count of 10,900 ve­hi­cles in that area; the state is pro­ject­ing traf­fic to grow sig­nif­i­cantly in up­com­ing years.

Traf­fic is ex­pected to be main­tained on the ex­ist­ing lanes dur­ing con­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to the pro­ject de­scrip­tion. If there are any needed lane clo­sures, they will not be al­lowed be­tween 6:30–8 a.m. and 1:30–3 p.m. week­days while school is in ses­sion, ac­cord­ing to state trans­porta­tion spokes­woman Cissy McNure.

Res­i­dents have com­plained about ac­ci­dents at the Ga. 212 and Bethany/But­ler Bridge roads in­ter­sec­tion for years. The Oak Hill and Ga. 212 in­ter­sec­tion was also a big prob­lem area, but a light was in­stalled there in 2011, al­though no turn lanes were added. The light will have to be re­placed as part of the widen­ing.

“Many fac­tors come into play here. We are widen­ing (the) road by adding turn lanes, and (the) traf­fic sig­nal, sig­nal cabi­net, etc. will need to be con­fig­ured for the ad­di­tional new road­way. We (will) put up the new signals while the old is still in op­er­a­tion so that we can switch off the old sig­nal and switch on the new at the same time. All equip­ment we take down is brought back to our traf­fic sig­nal shop for re­use,” McNure said.

The widen­ing and slight change in align­ment to the in­ter­sec­tion at Oak Hill

Road and Ga. 212 will be de­signed to im­prove sight dis­tances.

The widen­ing pro­ject has been in the works since at least 2000. Though fi­nal fig­ures were not avail­able, the state’s es­ti­mated cost for en­gi­neer­ing was $462,038, while the es­ti­mated cost to pur­chase rights of way was $1.24 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the on­line pro­ject de­scrip­tion.

To view doc­u­ments for this and other road proj- ects, go to dot.ga.gov, and click the “Pro­ject Search (Tran­sPi)” link on the right hand side­bar; in the search screen that shows up, se­lect “New­ton” in the “County” field and then click “Go!” All projects in New­ton County will show up at the bot­tom of the page; click on text un­der the “Pro­ject Ti­tle” sec­tion to go to each in­di­vid­ual pro­ject’s page, where you can view more in­for­ma­tion and a va­ri­ety of doc­u­ments.

The pro­ject ID for the Ga. 212 widen­ing is 245190, but some of the in­for­ma­tion on­line is out­dated and no longer ac­cu­rate.

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