COVINGTON -- School traffic should flow a little easier during the new school year, as improvements are being made on Airport Road where Flint Hill Elementary School is located and on Crowell and Jack Neely roads, where the replacement Newton High School is set to open later this year.
The Board of Commissioners recently authorized the advertisement of bids for both projects.
The first entails edge widening on Airport Road from Poole Booth Road to Ga. Hwy. 142. The road will be widened on each side to allow school buses to more easily pass. Initial improvements were made to the road before Flint Hill Elementary opened a year and a half ago. This second phase will be done this summer while school is out, said County Engineer Tom Garrett.
Improvements to the intersection of Airport Road and Ga. Hwy. 142 are planned for a later time. Garrett said that project is still being finalized with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The improvements are being funded through SPLOST 2011, with $2 million set aside for all the phases. Once bids are in and one is approved for this second phase, the project will take two to three weeks to complete. Garrett said it will likely start in late May and be done well before school opens.
The BOC also authorized advertising for bids for a road improvement project on Jack Neely and Crowell roads. On Jack Neely, a southbound center left turn lane will be added so that traffic heading south can continue without being delayed by vehicles that are turning.
On Crowell Road, an existing northbound turn lane will be extended to accommodate vehicles and buses turning left into the high school.
"The northbound movement on Crowell is particularly heavy during the a.m. rush hour and this lane will help alleviate any delay to motorists traveling north on Crowell to I-20," Garrett said.
The project will also be done over the summer and funded through SPLOST revenues. The county has $1 million in SPLOST dollars allotted for improvements at this site.
Garrett said the projects won't require detours but there will be temporary lane closures.
In other news, the county is paving over railroad tracks that cross over Gaithers Road; Hwy. 213; Elks Club Road; Dixie Road; and Old Starrsville Road. The tracks are no longer utilized. The project should be completed this week.
Finally, resurfacing of more than 7 miles of several roads, funded by the DOT's Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, will begin in June. Roads to be resurfaced will be Mote and McGiboney Roads; Jack Neely from Windsong Drive to Fairview Road; part of Oak Hill Road from Ga. Hwy. 212 to Ga. Hwy. 20; Dixie Road from Hwy. 213 to Henderson Mill Road; and patchwork on Malcolm Road. Motorists should expect delays once the projects get started.
The unincorporated county received $846,495.85 in LMIG dollars for this year. The county is required to fund a 30 percent match, at roughly $250,000, Garrett said.