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Porterdale's intersection project receives DOT approval

The intersection of Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road in Porterdale is known as Newton County’s worst intersection. Chairman Keith Ellis said the county should receive the permit approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation in order to start the project that would install a traffic signal and widen turn lanes. (Staff photo: Aimee Jones)

The intersection of Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road in Porterdale is known as Newton County’s worst intersection. Chairman Keith Ellis said the county should receive the permit approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation in order to start the project that would install a traffic signal and widen turn lanes. (Staff photo: Aimee Jones)

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The traffic signal would be installed at the intersections of Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road in order to better direct the flow of traffic. Turn lanes will also be widened to prevent heavy traffic lines. (Special photo)

PORTERDALE — The worst intersection in Newton County will get worse before it gets better, but that could be a good sign for drivers who are sitting at the four-way stop in Porterdale.

According to Newotn County Chairman Keith Ellis, the county expects to receive a permit from the state Department of Transporation to install a traffic signal and widen turn lanes at the interstection Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road, considered by many to be one of the worst intersections in the county.

Ellis said when he stepped into his role as chairman 16 months ago, he looked at all the projects included in the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and working on that intersection became a top priority.

“Out of all those projects on the shelves, this is most important. We started pushing to get it in front of the DOT again and had the engineering firm take another look at the proposed plans,” Ellis said. “People go miles out of the way to avoid this intersection, so this is a monumental day in Newton County. Sure, it’ll get worse before it gets better when construction begins, but it’ll be grand when it’s finished.”

For almost 10 years, elected officials on the state and local level have pushed to prioritize this Porterdale transportation project.

“People have been screaming for it before my time,” Mayor Arline Chapman said. “It’s been a slow process, but when I talked to Keith Ellis, we both agreed that this wasn’t just important to Porterdale, but the entire county.”

The $1.7 million project will be funded by SPLOST funds. Assistant County Manager Tom Garrett said that cost does not include the relocation of some minor utilities, but the city of Porterdale has also agreed to allocate $300,000 toward the project.

An informational event about the project for the public will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, at the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium.