COVINGTON - The intersection that Board of Commissioners Chairman Aaron Varner calls "the worst in the county" is about to get an overhaul that is expected to relieve traffic congestion.
The Brown Bridge Road/Ga. Highway 212/Ga. Highway 20 intersection has long been a frustration for motorists due to heavy traffic and long wait times at stop signs.
When the Georgia Department of Transportation told the county it had no funding for improvements, officials decided to take on the project locally, with the DOT's permission.
Once the county got moving and committed funds, the DOT stepped in and agreed to help pay, said County Engineer Kevin Walter.
The project will entail moving the intersection of Ga. highways 20/212 about 300 feet north of its current location. The new intersection, along with the Brown Bridge/212 intersection, will be signalized.
It's a temporary fix, but with the permanent solution not yet funded by DOT, it's better than nothing, Walter said.
"It will make it, not ideal, but about 75 percent ideal," he said.
The project should begin around January and will take eight to 12 months to complete.
During construction there will be "no worse delays than there are now," Walter said. "All roadways will be kept open. Right now, with all the congestion at the intersections, I hope it won't be any worse than that."
The DOT has notified the county that Pittman Construction Company is the low bidder for the work at $1.03 million. Newton County's share is $530,119.99, which will be paid for through special purpose local option sales tax revenues. Once the DOT receives the county's payment, the project will be awarded.
The permanent solution for the intersection will involve moving the Brown Bridge/212 intersection south about 1,000 feet and making drastic changes to all three roads. But that solution is likely years away from getting started, Walter said.
"This (temporary fix) may be all we have for the next 10 or 15 years ... We just said, 'Something is better than nothing,'" he said.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.