Feds to pay for $500K road design

COVINGTON -- Federal stimulus money will pay for a nearly $500,000 concept design and preliminary engineering work for the widening and realignment of Almon Road.

The project covers approximately 3 miles, from the Interstate 20, exit 88 interchange to the Rockdale County line.

"It's going to be really, really good. It will enable us to do a lot of computer modeling of traffic," County Engineer Kevin Walter said.

The concept design will provide information on how wide the road should be, how much right of way is needed, traffic patterns and what properties will be affected.

"The widening of that road may not occur for several years but we're pleased to have stimulus money to gather this information so we can be making progress," Walter said.

It will also address moving to the south the portion of Almon Road running parallel to the railroad in the Almon community.

"It's really cramped. We're considering moving this part of the road. It's a logical parallel with the (Almon/Crowell Road) overlay," Walter said, noting that the proposed overlay includes a town center in the Almon community.

The Board of Commissioners has agreed to let county transportation consultant URS Corporation handle the concept design and preliminary engineering at a cost of $499,967.60 to be paid for through American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds.

"As we move forward with our vision for the future, and potentially adopting the Almon Overlay, this road will be critical to moving people through that corridor," said District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz.

In other news, the county is seeking bids for emergency repairs to Richards Chapel Road, which has been closed since November due to rain damage.

The road was not damaged during the flooding in September and is not eligible for federal disaster funds, Walter said.

A corrugated metal pipe in place will be replaced by a concrete box culvert. The county is seeking bids from three local contractors it has previously employed. Walter estimated the project should not cost more than $200,000. The BOC is expected to award the contract at its meeting on Tuesday and work will begin soon after, with the project to be completed in 90 days, Walter said.