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DOT revising Salem Road T-SPLOST description

COVINGTON - The Georgia Department of Transportation is revising the project description for the widening of Salem Road in Newton to be funded through T-SPLOST.

The current project description says Salem Road is slated to be widened from two to six lanes, with traffic signals installed at major intersections, between the I-20 interchange and Brown Bridge Road.

According to Todd Long, deputy commissioner of DOT, "The way it is described on the sheet is not an accurate reflection of the project the roundtable voted on. They voted on the widening from Brown Bridge Road to Old Salem Road and we're going to rephrase that description to reflect that."

Long is referring to the roundtable of elected officials from the Northeast Georgia Region that selected the T-SPLOST project list.

The new description will not specify how many lanes the road will be widened, but Long said, "I feel certain in will be four lanes in Newton."

According to Chairman Kathy Morgan, "At one time the Federal Highway department wanted to widen the road to six lanes; we have appealed to reduce that to four lanes with the agreement we would improve Brown Bridge Road and widen Crowell road to four lanes providing alternate access to I-20. It is my understanding that GDOT supports our appeal."

Long said that the DOT will need to revisit some of the studies and concept development work already done on the road before making a final decision, but that he believes the Newton portion will be widened to four lanes.

The project description is also inaccurate because it includes the I-20 interchange in Rockdale County. The state has been divided into 12 transportation regions for the purposes of T-SPLOST, and Rockdale is in a different planning region than Newton. Rockdale's portion of Salem Road is not on that county's T-SPLOST list, but there is federal money available to fund the widening in Rockdale, Long said. In Rockdale county, especially near the I-20 interchange, Salem may need to be widened to six lanes, he said.

The change to the project description in Newton will not affect the estimated cost of $34,317,452, Long said.

The Rockdale county portion of the project will cost roughly $37 million, putting the long-awaited and long-delayed project cost total at more than $70 million.

"You can see why we've had trouble funding it. But it is an important project; it's a good project." said Long.

If T-SPLOST passes, the Salem widening is slated to take place in years four through seven of the 10-year program, which would be 2016 - 2019. Long said the Rockdale project would follow roughly the same timeline.

Voters will decide on July 31 whether to pay an additional one percent sales tax over the next 10 years to fund transportation projects. According to the T-SPLOST list on www.t-splost.com, Newton could receive approximately $120 million in transportation project revenues if the tax is approved. Newton is in the Northeast Georgia Region, along with Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton counties. Transportation revenues generated in the Northeast Georgia Region are expected to total $987 million over the 10-year life of the T-SPLOST, from 2013 to 2022.

Comments

mgh1966 2 years, 6 months ago

Ok Rockdale gets the FED to help leaving Newton to pay there on way. VOTE NO

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PoolBoy 2 years, 6 months ago

The world does not stop at the County line! I live in Newton and drive in Rockdale and pay Federal taxes. I don't care which part on my money is used as long as something gets done. Vote YES.

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Billy 2 years, 6 months ago

Salem Road needs to be widened, has for years. I always vote no on SPLOST. Hopefully, the need is such that the gov't will do it anyway. Never vote for more Gov't spending; they're spending too much already as it is...

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Frustrated 2 years, 6 months ago

The item hasnt even had a vote and they are already starting to change things? Either this was poor planning to start or there are sme behind the scenes action going on.

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trusslady 2 years, 6 months ago

This is how SPLOST's work - they sucker you in with one idea, and then change it to another. Or, they cancel the original project and just keep on collecting money. Vote NO!

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HonestAbe 2 years, 6 months ago

Reminds me of the New School that was built off loop 142 and ready to open before the county realized that road work needed to be done. One word- unorganized. How can they expect us to vote on something that they don't have the facts on and can't explain?

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PoolBoy 2 years, 6 months ago

School SPLOST can not be used for transportation improvements and therefore the County was made to look bad because of the School Board. The School Board should coordinate with the County regarding school locations but they usually do not. T-SPLOST would give the County money to address school road issues which they can not address now. Vote YES

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RetiredGuy 2 years, 6 months ago

All of this "change" stuff and "widen" stuff all goes as far as Brownbridge Rd. The heavy traffic comes from south of Brownbridge Rd. With these "proposals" the GDOT and Newton County and any behind the scenes "movers and shakers" will have just the grandest bottle neck possible at Salem and Brownbridge where Salem would go from 4 or 6 lanes into 2 lanes. Does that make any sense?

Vote NO on T-SPLOST.

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PoolBoy 2 years, 6 months ago

So your'e saying to just do nothing, leave it 2 lanes, and let it get worse instead of doing something to fix the problem? Vote YES

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hendrix 2 years, 5 months ago

Until they get it right, yes. They have promised us this widening for 2006 and forward and nothing yet. Show us something concrete.

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mgh1966 2 years, 6 months ago

AT least we know a head of time intead of ops not enough money we have to make changes. Vote NO

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HonestAbe 2 years, 6 months ago

The main problem with widening Crowell Road is this. This road was shut down during the 2009 Flood for weeks because part of it was washed out. It runs along one side of the Yellow River. Now you are talking about widening it, clear cutting the area and changing to commercial. Do they realize what potential destruction can happen here in future floods? Part of the reason the 2009 flood was so bad in Newton County was because of all the building in upstream counties. When you start clear cutting wetlands to widen roads and put down asphalt and buildings you are begging for flood problems. People just don't realize how much water a tree absorbs and how much asphalts adds to erosion and changes in the flow of a River. Building business along this road will only add to the problem as business adds much more asphalt than homes. The developement in counties upstream has already added severely to the polution of the Yellow River in the 30 years i have been here. Now Newton County wishes to add to the problem? Remember all the flooding in the Atlanta area in 2009 where all the building had taken place? If government is not going to protect our River and Streams than who is ? I strongly urge the board and Chairman to revisit what they have planned here. You have two of the best EMA people in the state working for you. Get their advice. I would think this would be something the 3rd district commissioner would want to spend some time on since her golf course is in this area. I would hate to think that we could have future loss of life during flooding in this area caused by clear cutting near our river and streams for the sake of a few dollars.

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