City Council agrees to light pedestrian bridge

COVINGTON — A lighting agreement has been made for the pedestrian bridge along Ga. Highway 81 over Interstate 20 in hopes of making that walkway safer for the community.

The Covington City Council agreed to provide maintenance and energy for the lights installed along the bridge for at least 50 years, according to City Attorney Ed Crudup. City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said the city agreed to provide the same services when the tunnel leading to Turner Lake Park was built.

Councilman Keith Dalton asked how much it would cost to maintain the lights. Knight said she’s unsure how much a specific section of lights costs the city because the lights are collectively placed in one line item in the budget.

“We don’t separate them on the budget based on where they are. Once Utilities Director Tim Morris knows what kind of lights are installed, we could have an estimate on the energy costs,” Knight said.

The city agreed to chip in $225,000 for the pedestrian bridge project, which will run parallel to the existing Ga. Highway 81 overpass at 16 feet wide with 10 feet usable for pedestrian traffic.

The total current cost estimate is $1,368,600 and a final estimate is being established by the engineers, who will also handle the conceptual design, surveying, environmental clearance and construction management.

The city has obtained a $594,000 Last Mile Grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission and $500,000 in Transportation Enhancement program money from the Georgia Department of Transportation. Both require a 20 percent match.

The city of Oxford is also participating in the project, committing $50,760 to construction of a sidewalk extending from the bridge to Oxford City Hall.

The bridge would provide a safe way for Oxford College students and residents of North Covington and Oxford to walk or bike to the U.S. Highway 278 and downtown shopping districts

The current bridge has sidewalks that are too narrow and unsafe for pedestrians.