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Widening of Ga. 142 gets under way

COVINGTON -- Work has begun on the widening of Ga. Highway 142, a project that will take more than two years to complete.

The Georgia Department of Transportation got started on the project this week and activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks and months.

"This will be inconvenient for people. There will be delays. But lane closings will not be allowed during rush hour, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.," County Engineer Kevin Walter said. "Because this is a long project that will take more than two years -- we're putting a tunnel in and we're going to have to cut a whole road -- there will be times when there are lane closures during the day."

The project entails the widening of Ga. Highway 142 to four lanes from the new Wal-Mart to just south of its intersection with U.S. Highway 278. An underground tunnel will also be constructed south of the intersection at the Martin Street right of way. The tunnel will eventually tie in with a countywide trail system. Work is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2012.

The $12 million project is being entirely funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The contract was awarded to Pittman Construction Company of Conyers.

"This is our biggest stimulus project by far. Out of $26 million in projects, this is half of that," Walter said.

The DOT is urging motorists to exercise extra caution when traveling through the construction work zone.