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Posted: October 18, 2012 8:07 p.m.

$500K grant awarded for I-20 bridge

Covington and Oxford have been awarded a joint grant for the replacement of a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Interstate 20.

City of Covington grant writer Randy Conner said the Atlanta Regional Commission under their Last Mile Connectivity program has awarded the cities a joint grant for $594,000.

Conner said the grant is additional funding for the Emory Street pedestrian bridge between Covington and Oxford. He said the bridge will be wide enough to accommodate pedestrian traffic.

Though the bridge is the main concern for both of the cities, Conner said the city of Oxford looks to work on other sidewalk projects within their city.

"It actually is a little more than just the bridge," he said. "The city of Oxford intends to improve the sidewalks from approximately city hall in Oxford at Emory Street, to the city limits, and then it will connect with the bridge once it is completed."

He explained why Covington and Oxford decided to apply for the grant together.

"The reason that the city of Oxford and the city of Covington went in together was because the minimum amount was $500,000," he said. "Neither one of us needed that much money, but we needed more than the $500,000 collectively. So we choose to go in together and present a joint application since the two projects joined together there at the interstate."

Conner said the process of getting funding for the pedestrian bridge and beginning construction on the project will take a while. He said it would take a minimum of 18 months just to obtain the permits for the bridge.

"Because it is on a state highway and because it's over an interstate, it will be a couple of years before you see any type of construction," he said.

Covington and Oxford city councils will vote on whether or not to accept the grant at their next meetings on Nov. 5.

Oxford mayor Jerry Roseberry said based on some of the discussions he had with council members, he believes their city will approve accepting the grant.

He said the pedestrian bridge is much needed in Oxford being that a lot of students at Oxford College and citizens in the area travel by foot and on a bicycle to Covington to eat at restaurants and shop at retail businesses.

"A lot of the residents of Oxford go into Covington, particularly the students who are on campus at Oxford college. They don't have transportation other than to walk. It'll be great for them," Roseberry said.

"It also would tie in to the future planning that Oxford is doing in the development of a town center because the sidewalk would run all the way from I-20 to the town center and as it is right now, we do not have a sidewalk on the eastern side of Emory Street and this is where it would go," he said.

 

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