DOT to hold public meeting on Highway 212 widening

COVINGTON - The Georgia Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on the widening of Ga. Highway 212 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Oak Hill Elementary School, located at 6243 Ga. Highway 212.

The project entails widening the road from its intersection with Bethany Road to Oak Hill Road and relocating intersections for safety purposes.

At the meeting, residents will be able to ask questions to DOT representatives, view displays and provide written comments. There will be no formal presentation.

"We are eager to hear the viewpoints and concerns of all area residents," said Tony Collins, DOT district engineer out of Tennille. "The Georgia DOT encourages all interested parties to provide their input for this plan."

Newton County Engineer Kevin Walter said the meeting means design of the project is moving forward.

However, while preliminary engineering is funded, right of way acquisition and construction is not, he said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012, but "It's up in the air whether the DOT will have money to do this," he said.

The estimated cost of the project is $10 million.

Newton County shifted rights of way funds from the Highway 212 widening to the Salem Road widening, in hopes of expediting that project, but "the DOT has not done its part," Walter said, and Salem Road is still in limbo.

Following the Thursday meeting, information about the Highway 212 project will be available online: Go to www.dot.ga.gov, click on General Public and then on Public Involvement.

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