COVINGTON — Newton County Board of Commissioners approved a construction bid that is going to improve the entrance at Flint Hill Elementary on Airport Road.
Assistant County Manager and Transportation Director Tom Garrett said the county received two bids for the project, with Pittman Construction Inc. being the lowest at $579,249.
Improvements to Airport Road have been ongoing since the school opened in 2011. The BOC allocated $25,000 from sales tax dollars to begin immediate upgrades in order to accommodate the school’s opening in August 2011 because Georgia Department of Transportation officials were concerned the road could not handle the school traffic.
The school’s entrance will increase from 44 feet to 111 feet. The project also entails realignment of both intersections at Ga. Highway 142, a deceleration lane eastbound and a full-length center turn lane northbound. Some of the county’s cost for the project will be alleviated once it receives the $200,000 reimbursement through DOT’s Quick Response, funded by motor fuel taxes.
The Quick Response fund will also provide $200,000 for the Alcovy Trestle Road project that will close the intersection nearest the Interstate 20 on-ramp and relocate it about 600 to 700 feet to the north, with center turn lanes and deceleration lanes added. The county was advised to select the lowest bidder, ER Snell Construction, for $990,690.
Garrett said the project costs can be reduced by $157,586 by decreasing the asphalt’s thickness. The transportation department investigated the pavement thickness existing on Ga. Highway 11 and was advised by the DOT to reduce the thickness in order to match the current roadway.
By approving the thinner asphalt, the project’s new cost would be $833,103 with $200,000 being covered by the DOT. While the majority of the commissioners approved the bid, Commissioner John Douglas suggested just moving the signs in order to make the intersection less confusing.
“I’ve talked about the intersection with the DOT and asked why we couldn’t move the signs instead of spending $800,000,” Douglas said. “I’m still convinced to move the interstate signs closer to the I-20 entrance and people with any sense would see the the ramp instead of turning on Alcovy Trestle Road.”
The bid for ER Snell Construction was approved 4-1 with Douglas in opposition. The project will be paid for by 2005 special purpose local option sales tax revenues.