COVINGTON - Motorists who make their way home via Brown Bridge Road should get some relief from congestion and be saved the hassle of detours now that the portion of the road between Ram Drive and the Covington city limits has been reopened.
The road was closed due to last week's flooding but is safe for travel again following an inspection by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The Brown Bridge Road bridge suffered a bit of scouring due to the Yellow River current during the flood, but it is safe to cross and will be reinspected in nine months, according to County Engineer Kevin Walter.
"If there is additional scouring it may be downgraded or it may be judged as to whether it is safe. I don't think they would say it was safe (now) unless they thought it was safe for a substantial time," Walter said.
If the county makes repairs to the bridge, the chances of a downgrade in capacity will be decreased.
"We're going to do the best we can to get federal disaster money to repair that bridge. It can be opened in the meantime, which is wonderful because it's such a critical arterial, as everybody knows," he said.
Newton County was added Monday to the list of counties qualifying for public assistance aiding state and local governments and private nonprofit organizations, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The county also qualifies for individual assistance for property owners to pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
Crowell Road North from Brown Bridge Road to Harold Dobbs Road is now open as well, with motorists required to detour via Harold Dobbs and Jack Neely roads. Semi-trucks are not allowed on that route because they cannot safely make the turn onto Jack Neely.
A portion of Crowell Road remains closed due to a sinkhole that poses a danger to motorists.
Mt. Tabor Road between Almon and Cook roads also remains closed because a bridge was "severely undermined" Walter said.
"It's going to be a substantial difficulty to fix that bridge," he said.
Walter said county officials are waiting to see if Newton will get any federal aid before beginning repairs.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.