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Red lights OK'd for 'death trap'

COVINGTON — Oak Hill Road and Ga. Highway 212 — an intersection one commissioner calls "a death trap" — will soon get a traffic signal and turn lanes.

Commissioners approved Tuesday night a task order for transportation consultant Moreland Altobelli to design and perform construction management on the project at a cost of $114,509.

The intersection was to have been signalized and Ga. 212 widened south to Bethany Road by the Department of Transportation, but funding was cut for that project in 2008, said County Engineer Kevin Walter.

Instead, the county will use $500,000 in stimulus money for engineering and construction of what Walter called a temporary solution.

"This project will be a temporary signal that will fit within the existing right of way and will serve this intersection until the full GDOT project can be constructed, now scheduled for 2013 but not yet authorized," Walter said in a memo to commissioners.

"It's a very needed project," Walter said when addressing the board Tuesday night. "We have had many, many citizen complaints, we've had some fatalities and several accidents there."

District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons agreed.

"This is a death trap ... and it's the main corridor between District 1 and District 2," he said.

The project is expected to be bid out in February and the bid must be accepted by commissioners in March in order to qualify for funding through stimulus monies.

Walter said the project will be completed this year.