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Newton County to help maintain exits

COVINGTON — Newton County will be assisting the city of Covington in mowing and maintaining grass at I-20 exits. More than $4,000 has been set aside in the Public Works Department budget for upkeep, said Chairman Keith Ellis.

But the county will first have to receive permission from the Georgia Department of Transportation to work on its rights of way, he said. It’s possible that DOT will reimburse the county up to $3,000 per mile per year, he said.

“We’re looking at which roads we would take on,” he said. Most likely, the county would assist with maintenance of a stretch of Ga. Highway 142 from the traffic light at Home Depot to U.S. Highway 278. The Covington City Council in September approved lawn maintenance contracts for several exits, but made its maintenance of Ga. Highway 142 contingent upon the county splitting the cost of $750 per month.

The city of Covington approved a contract for maintenance, including litter removal, mowing 42 times per year and weed control, at exits 90 and 92, as well as a grassy area on U.S. Highway 278 in front of Ginn Chrysler Jeep Dodge. That contract was awarded to local company Great Estates Landscaping at a cost of $1,838 per month.

The contract covers upkeep of the area around the park-and-ride and the Welcome to Covington sign at exit 90 and along Alcovy Road around Harland Drive to FiberVisions at exit 92. Extra charges of $30 an hour will kick in if city officials want flower planting or any other extra work at the exits.

While all those areas are actually the Georgia Department of Transportation’s responsibility to mow, the city has been doing it for some time, Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon previously said. The DOT mows only twice per year, he said, while the city crew has been mowing about once a month, weather permitting.