COVINGTON, Ga. — Construction is underway on site development for a 43-acre housing project in west Covington.
City Planning and Development Manager Marc Beechuk said the project, known as Ashford Park, was for a single-family neighborhood. According to initial drawings, the property at 7901 Georgia Hwy. 81 (Washington Street) is being divided into lots by Madison-based developer The Reservoir Group, LLC, to build 188 houses.
As the site is being prepared, residents have voiced concerns with how the development could impact traffic.
“From what we can see, this will be one of the largest home developments that have been built [in] some time,” county resident Jay Larrabee told The News. “Our concern is that there does not appear to be any modification of the intersection, expansion of existing roads or additional intersections to handle what will be a very large increase in traffic.”
Larrabee believed the biggest increase would be in the direction of Turner Lake Road, as motorists look to gain access to I-20 in the morning and evening hours.
“Turner Lake Road can not handle the increase in what could be a few thousand additional cars, particularly through the roundabout,” Larrabee said.
In response, Covington Planning & Development Director Tres Thomas, who doubles as city engineer, said improvements for Turner Lake Road, among other heavily traveled highways within the city, had been recommended based on current and future Level of Service analysis. Cost estimates are being developed, he said.
“Though an analysis has not been done for the Flat Shoals Road and Washington Street intersection, the city acknowledges the potential for traffic congestion and will continue to monitor this area,” Thomas said. “Please note that Washington Street is a GDOT route.”
Other highways analyzed included City Pond Road (where the massive Town Center project is being developed) and Covington Bypass Road (where developments such as Neely Farms, Martins Crossings and others are being constructed).
Beechuk said the property has a connection into Walker’s Bend to provide a second means of egress, and there will also be connections into Central Park for pedestrian and bike traffic, “as will other neighborhoods before too long.”
The project is only in the site development stage, which could take up to 18 months before completion, Beechuk said. After that, developers will need final plat review and approval at the mayor and council level, which could take about a month.
“Then, individual lots can be applied for review and permitting, which is typically much shorter — a few weeks at most, but once they get rolling, typically on a few days,” Beechuk said.
The Covington Planning Commission has heard the preliminary plat and sent it forward, Beechuk said.