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Medians to be installed on U.S. 278

COVINGTON -- A portion of U.S. Highway 278 will be upgraded for motorists' safety next year.

Several medians will be installed from the highway's intersection with Mill Street to the west side of Industrial Boulevard. The medians will separate turn lanes from travel lanes, which will be safer for motorists, who now have to converge in a middle turn lane. The new turn lanes will cut down on the potential for accidents, said Transportation Project Manager Billy Skinner.

The project is expected to be bid in March. It is being funded through a $500,000 grant obtained by the city several years ago. The City Council agreed to pay up to $110,000 for resurfacing related to the project.

Medians are being installed by the DOT east of Industrial Boulevard as part of an ongoing project and these will tie in with that project, Skinner said.

In other news, the city has terminated an inspection assistance agreement with Porterdale. The agreement was approved last summer when Porterdale officials asked the city to provide a building inspector on an as-needed basis, according to Planning Director Randy Vinson. At the time, Porterdale's part-time inspector was not always available and Covington officials agreed to provide a back-up inspector.

"We certainly never intended to become their only inspector. We were just going to do them a favor and provide back up," Vinson said.

However, Porterdale cut the inspector's position out of this year's budget altogether. With inspections picking up in Covington and the loss of the senior inspector through attrition, leaving only one full-time inspector and one code enforcement officer to provide back up, Covington will no longer be able to conduct inspections in Porterdale, Vinson said.

Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson said the city has a back up inspector it can use.

"We only have a handful of inspections a month. Although we would have liked to continue using them, until the number of inspections rises appreciably, we'll just go with a back up," he said.