COVINGTON - Newton and Rockdale counties are joining forces to widen a small stretch of Bailey Creek Road where it crosses county lines.
Newton County commissioners awarded a $565,333.50 contract to Pittman Construction Co. to widen and realign about three-quarters of a mile of the road.
Though the majority of the project is in Newton, about one-tenth of a mile runs into Rockdale. Officials there have agreed to reimburse Newton for their portion, which amounts to about 15 percent, according to Newton County engineer Kevin Walter.
Cooperation between the two counties results in a monetary savings, Walter said, adding that if the counties undertook improvements on their own, separate design documents and contracts would have to be drawn up.
"(The road) connects residential districts of Rockdale and Newton counties. It's not an arterial connector but there are a lot of homes on both sides and it's used to go back and forth from both counties. It's been a bad road for many years. It's an old, rural, farm-type road that was never properly improved when it was paved 25 to 30 years ago," Walter said.
The road narrows to one lane where it crosses into Rockdale County. While a proper lane is 12 feet wide, the width of the entire road is only about 15 feet at that point, Walter said.
"Two cars cannot cross each other. You can squeak by if you drive on the ditch," he said.
The road will be moved about 25 feet to the south in an effort to avoid impacting residences along the north side. A 12-foot-high bank will be cut down to accommodate the realignment.
The project should start within the next 30 days and will be completed by the end of the year, Walter said.
The county received eight bids on the project. Pittman came in as the low bidder, with Lambert Sand and Gravel submitting the highest bid at $952,538.50.
The county will pay for the widening through special purpose local option sales tax revenues.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.