Improvements are headed to Livingston Lane

COVINGTON - A road that has been a concern to county officials for the past eight years is a step closer to being improved.

County commissioners recently approved a $196,899.91 task order for the survey and design of improvements to Livingston Lane, including drainage improvements, road realignment, environmental permitting and paving.

The project includes the realignment of the intersection at Oak Hill Road, which is "dangerously misaligned with other nearby streets," according to County Engineer Kevin Walter.

The Livingston Lane intersections with Oak Hill and Magnet roads are angled and not lined up safely, and the goal is to better align the intersections, Walter said.

Also, two sharp curves where Livingston Lane becomes Veal Road will be improved.

The project will begin at the intersection of Oak Hill Road and Livingston Lane and extend 1.3 miles south to Richards Chapel Road.

Though the road may be moved only 5 to 10 feet, the project is complicated by the fact that water mains are too close to the road. At the time the road was developed, the county did not require review of subdivision plans, including installation of water mains, or require the developer to make road improvements, Walter said.

Transportation consultants Hatch Mott MacDonald, formerly J.B. Trimble Inc., of Atlanta will complete the design. The consultants estimate that 90 properties could be impacted by right-of-way acquisition.

The design is expected to take 10 to 12 months to complete. After the design is finished, right of way acquisition will take another 10 to 12 months, Walter said.

"The design will strive to minimize the amount of ROW (right of way) that must be acquired and to maximize construction and drainage easements for the improvements," he said in a memo to commissioners. "Following the completion of design and ROW acquisition in approximately 20 to 24 months, additional funding for construction will be sought from all available sources at that time."

The task order covers the design phase of the project only. According to Walter, there is no county funding available for construction. The design will be paid for through the capital improvements fund.

"We're trying to get projects ready so if more construction dollars come through the DOT or Washington, we'll be ready to go," he said.

Walter said about 25 percent, or $5 million, is left in the roads budget for SPLOST, which is not being used to fund this project.

"Because we can't be certain of the economy, we're trying to be very careful with that last 25 percent," he said.

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