Traffic shift set to begin

COVINGTON -- Traffic will be shifted along Covington Bypass and Ga. Highway 142 beginning Wednesday, the Georgia Department of Transportation has announced.

The shift will be in effect for the next six to nine months as work continues on a widening project, according to Bryan Gibbs, area engineer for the DOT. The duration will depend on the time it takes to relocate utilities and any weather delays.

The project entails the widening of Ga. Highway 142 from the Wal-Mart Supercenter to south of the Ga. Highway 142 intersection with U.S. Highway 278, as well as adding concrete medians and turn lanes.

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 county-wide trail system.

The entire project is expected to take two years to complete at a cost of $12 million and is being funded through federal stimulus money.

There will be delays Wednesday while traffic is being shifted from the east to west direction of travel.

"Once we get it swapped, (traffic) should be close to normal," said DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure, adding that traffic control personnel will be on hand to direct traffic and ease the transition for motorists.

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