COVINGTON -- Newton County has a little over $5 million in 2005 SPLOST dollars left for transportation projects, and the intersection at Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road will benefit.
Chairman Kathy Morgan got approval from the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night to apply the remaining funds to three projects, which total a little more than $7 million. Morgan said she hopes money can be obtained from the Georgia Department of Transportation to make up the approximately $2 million in additional funds it will take to complete all the projects.
Improvements to the Ga. 81/Crowell Road intersection are expected to cost $3.9 million. The city of Porterdale will pay $300,000. GDOT and the Atlanta Regional Commission are expected to approve the design of the project any day, Morgan said. An environmental assessment is still pending. The project is at least 8 to 12 months away from breaking ground. "It's on everybody's radar as much needed," Morgan said.
The other two projects approved for the remainder of SPLOST funds are construction of Gaither Road, at a cost of $2.9 million, and safety improvements to Alcovy Trestle at River Cove Road at $750,000. All projects were on the SPLOST 2005 transportation projects list.
In other news, commissioners are beginning to whittle down hundreds of millions of dollars in needed road projects to achieve a list totaling $17.28 million, the amount that is designated for SPLOST 2011 revenue, should it be approved in the March 15 special election.
A list of specific projects is not required to be presented to the public prior to the election, according to Jenny Carter with the county attorney's office. The transportation projects designation on the SPLOST ballot will cover any projects in the county, she said.
Commissioners are selecting projects based on the Comprehensive Transportation Plan approved in 2008 as well as some additional projects county officials have deemed critical. Morgan said she will bring back a cost analysis to the board at its March 1 meeting.
Commissioner Mort Ewing recommended concentrating on projects that have already been initiated, noting that in the past, millions have been spent on planning only to have projects delayed, sometimes by as long as 10 years, by GDOT. Those projects should get top priority, he said.