El­lis: Crow­ell Road/ SR 81 work to be­gin in Septem­ber

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­news.com

Work at the in­ter­sec­tion of State Road 81 and Crow­ell Road should be fin­ished about a year af­ter it be­gins in Septem­ber, New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers Chair­man Keith El­lis said Fri­day.

A stop­light and turn­ing lanes are planned for the busy in­ter­sec­tion.

“New­ton County’s por­tion (of the $1.6 mil­lion to $1.8 mil­lion bill) will be the 2005 SPLOST,” El­lis said. “The city of Por­terdale is also par­tic­i­pat­ing and has made a com­mit­ment of $300,000 to­ward the project.”

Other projects set to be­gin soon are “work on the Flat Shoals in­ter­sec­tion, Brown Bridge in­ter­sec­tion and ul­ti­mately the in­ter­change at 1-20” along the Cov­ing­ton By­pass, El­lis said. “This is one of our

busiest roads. All of these in­ter­sec­tions are choke­points dur­ing the heav­i­est travel times. Work­ing on in­ter­sec­tion choke­points gives in­stant ben­e­fit to traf­fic con­ges­tions and are much less ex­pen­sive than road-widen­ing projects.”

But what about Salem Road? Will it be im­proved or widened any­time soon? The an­swer: De­fine “soon.”

“The widen­ing has been dis­cussed for years now with­out any move­ment from the (state De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion),” he said. “As I stated above, widen­ing projects are very ex­pen­sive. There­fore, DOT pushed that project fur­ther out. Cur­rently the pro­posed date to be­gin con­struc­tion is the year 2020. I am work­ing with DOT to move that up by two years. The cur­rent plan is for Salem Road to widen to four lanes and by­pass the Historic Salem Camp­ground.”

The method for de­cid­ing which roads to resur­face is a sci­en­tific one, not ar­bi­trary or sub­jec­tive, El­lis ex­plained.

“We have a sys­tem to score each road. The score is de­ter­mined by sev­eral fac­tors to ar­rive at a nu­mer­i­cal score. We con­sider the road con­di­tion, the posted speed limit, and traf­fic counts as a ba­sis for our fi­nal de­ci­sion,” he said. “For ex­am­ple, sub­di­vi­sion roads would rate lower in pri­or­ity than a main county road where speed lim­its and traf­fic counts are higher. Tax­payer dol­lars, SPLOST monies and a state pro­gram re­ferred to as LMIG usu­ally fund New­ton Coun­ties road sys­tem im­prove­ments.

The county for­tu­nately has de­vel­oped a good re­la­tion­ship with the DOT.

“We have had good suc­cess in de­vel­op­ing a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with GDOT,” he said. “Since I have been in of­fice we have re­ceived as­sis­tance on two ma­jor in­ter­sec­tion projects and a bridge re­pair. The Flint Hill School in­ter­sec­tion and the Al­covy Tres­tle re­align­ment at SR 11 are two ex­am­ples of up­com­ing projects which we will re­ceive fund­ing from DOT. This is a di­rect re­sult of our work­ing re­la­tion­ship with their district of­fice.”

For more in­for­ma­tion or to ask El­lis ques­tions on any topic, email kel­lis@ co.new­ton.ga.us.

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