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Road project costing more than expected
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The relocation of the Dearing Street and Covington Bypass intersection is costing the county and the city of Covington more than they were anticipating - nearly $475,000 more.

Pittman Construction Company is currently under contract with Newton County to construct the new intersection. The entire project is within the existing right-of-way of the Covington Bypass according to an inter-departmental memo from County Engineer Kevin Walter.

The county recently bid out additional work to construct the relocated Dearing Street Intersection, both on the county side and on the city side. Pittman Construction entered the low bid of $474,840 for the work and was awarded the bid by the Newton County Board of Commissioners at their Sept. 4 meeting.

The cost of the ad-on work on the county side is $199, 289. The cost of the ad-on work on the city's side is $275,550. The city of Covington will reimburse the county 50 percent of the cost of the ad-on work on the city's side of the intersection or $137,775.

The Covington City Council approved the additional funds at their Sept. 17 meeting. The city will be paying for the ad-on work using funds from the city's Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The project was originally bid out to Pittman for $920,340 with the city of Covington agreeing to pay half of the project's cost, again through SPLOST funding. According to a second memo from Walter to the BOC, the county had previously hoped to construct the city side of the intersection using internal labor and equipment with the city's contribution of $460,170 paying the cost of materials.

According to the memo, when it was learned that internal labor and equipment would have to be diverted from critical county road repaving and repair projects in order to complete the construction of the city's side of the intersection, it was decided to bid out the work instead.

At the Sept. 4 BOC meeting Newton County Chairman Aaron Varner told the board the Dearing Street Intersection project had been delayed. It took two years to move the utilities near the intersection and it took time to get the Georgia Department of Transportation's approval to put a traffic signal at the intersection.

The county's total portion of the project cost is now $659,459 and will be paid from the county's SPLOST Account of the Roads and Bridges Capital Improvement Program. The city of Covington's total commitment to the project is now $597,945 and will be paid through the city's SPLOST fund.