County asks DOT to fund traffic study

COVINGTON - The county is requesting that the Georgia Department of Transportation pay for a study to determine if a traffic light is needed at the intersection of Ga. Highway 212 and Oak Hill Road.

County Engineer Kevin Walter said there is limited sight distance for motorists traveling on Oak Hill, and there is a problem with motorists speeding on Ga. 212. At the request of the board, the DOT lowered the speed limit on Ga. 212 in 2006, north of the intersection from 55 mph to 45 mph, but safety continues to be a concern, he said.

District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons reported seeing a three-car accident there May 24 and the county has also received complaints from citizens, Walter said.

Walter said the analysis will examine nine criteria, including volume of traffic and number of accidents, to determine if a signal is warranted.

"It may not be a signal; it may be something else" needed to improve the intersection, he said.

Walter said the DOT keeps companies on retainer to perform these types of studies.

It takes between four and six years to get a project approved and funded by the DOT, he said. It's a quicker route if the county pays for the project. The traffic light at Elks Club Road was funded by the county and took about two years to complete.

"We haven't discussed what we'll pay for or not pay for. We want to find out what is warranted first," he said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.