COVINGTON -- Newton County has received nearly $2.1 million in federal funds for road projects. The money is being administered through the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Projects that will benefit are the intersection at Brown Bridge and Crowell Road; Flat Shoals Road at Covington Bypass; and Ga. Hwy. 142 at Ga. Hwy. 81. All were already part of the county's comprehensive transportation plan, created in 2008.
"Because the money is available, it expedites the projects," said Chairman Kathy Morgan.
The city of Covington also received $594,000 for construction of a pedestrian bridge over I-20.
Morgan said the county's projects were picked based on traffic count and safety considerations at the intersections, and those that were within the metropolitan planning area under ARC's jurisdiction.
Morgan said she believes the fact that Newton County is now in two congressional districts helped the county receive more funding.
"With these proposals, they saw that they were disbursing their money; it was not concentrated in one area and the benefit was going all the way around," she said.
The county received $2,096,000 and is required to fund a 20 percent match of $524,000.
At the Brown Bridge and Crowell road intersection, there have been 22 accidents since January 2008, according to a report given to the Board of Commissioners by County Engineer Tom Garrett. The intersection has a traffic count of almost 30,000 vehicles per day. Improvements will include lengthening the left turn lane on Brown Bridge, changing the alignment of the intersection and possibly adding more turn signals, at an estimated cost of $580,000.
At Flat Shoals Road and Covington Bypass, there are close to 15,000 vehicles that pass through per day. A traffic signal and left turn lanes will be installed at an estimated cost of $1.1 million.
Morgan said the city of Oxford wants to slow the volume of semi-trucks driving through city limits along Hwy. 81. That intersection sees more than 16,000 vehicles per day. There are two options for improvements and the one selected will depend on the Department of Transportation's preference, but both will include installing a traffic signal and conversion to a 90-degree angle intersection.
The ARC is distributing $310 million in federal funds; projects have to be under construction by 2014.