County to replace Oak Hill bridge

COVINGTON - Taking action before the Georgia Department of Transportation does, the Board of Commissioners has agreed to replace the bridge on Oak Hill Road running over Snapping Shoals Creek.

The bridge was recently downgraded in capacity and could be closed to traffic for several months if the DOT declares the structure unsafe, according to County Engineer Kevin Walter.

"The bridge is subject to being overtopped by flood waters as it has been in the past decade at least once," Walter stated in a memo to the board. "In order to make it possible for Oak Hill Road to continue uninterrupted to be a major East-West connector in Newton County, it is important to make the decision at this time to design and replace this bridge."

Chairman Aaron Varner told the board that he had been concerned about the bridge for a long time.

"At some time in the future, the state could come in and either tell us to close the bridge or reduce the capacity so we can't run school buses over it," he said.

At their regular meeting May 6, commissioners approved a $197,042.04 task order to hire transportation consultants with J.B. Trimble to do survey and design work for the new bridge.

Design and construction of the bridge will take two years to complete, Walter said.

During construction, a temporary bypass road will allow Oak Hill Road traffic to continue to flow, he said.

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