Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman shakes hands with Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis as the two celebrate with many other elected officials the state Department of Transportation’s approval of the Crowell Road and Ga. Highway 81 intersection traffic signal project. (Staff photos: Jessicah Peters)
PORTERDALE — The citizens of Porterdale have waited more than 20 years and begged for the day that the intersection of Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road would no longer be a four-way stop.
State, county and city officials announced Wednesday that they had received approval from the state Department of Transportation to move forward with a traffic signal project at what could be one of the worst intersections in the county.
Citizens gathered at the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium on Wednesday to celebrate finally receiving the money and approval to move forward with installing a traffic signal.
Chairman Keith Ellis along with Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman worked together to move the project to the forefront of the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax list.
Ellis said although drivers will need to have even more patience once construction starts, the intersection will be worth the wait.
Commissioners Nancy Schulz and Lanier Sims applauded the joint effort between the local and state officials to move the intersection up on the GDOT’s radar.
“This is a passing of the permit ceremony and we hope to return in 60 to 90 days to break ground once the bids have been received,” Ellis said. “We hope by August 2015, the project will be complete and it will bring back the people who have avoided coming to Porterdale because of it.”
State Reps. Pam Dickerson and Andy Welch attended the ceremony and were excited to see everyone make an effort to improve the intersection.
“We praise DOT and thank the commissioners for understanding our problem,” Chapman said. “It not only benefits the county, but we expect to see an economic boom once the project is complete.”
DOT District Traffic Engineer Kendrick Collins presented the permit to the county and city to close the ceremony.
The $1.7 million project will be funded by SPLOST funds. The city of Porterdale has also agreed to allocate $300,000 toward the project.
“I’ve never seen so many people be happy about spending close to $2 million,” Ellis said.