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Covington approves change order for Pace Street project
The installation of new driveways at Morgan Plaza on Pace Street has raised some concerns from local business owners and residents. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

COVINGTON, Ga. - The City of Covington will pick up a nearly $40,000 bill to make sure the ongoing road project on Pace Street is done correctly after complaints concerning the new driveways and sidewalks and how it is impacting local businesses. 

The Covington City Council voted to approve a change order Tuesday evening to rectify concerns related to the new driveways installed at Morgan Plaza on Pace Street. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

Barbara Morgan, general manager of Morgan Plaza, LP on Pace Street, called the project "chaos" and said it was not turning out like what she recalls of the original plans. 

"We have 25 businesses that have been there some of them for more than 30 years and they deserve some respect, " she said. "As we try to renovate Pace Street we are impacting their business and the ingress and egress for their customers.

"We hope that it will work for our business ultimately, but there is a lot to be desired about the way this construction project has proceeded."

Judy Hooton, a landlord on Pace Street, also raised concerns regarding the height of newly installed sidewalks and explained how it is blocking the view to her tenant's business, which is a car dealership. 

Councilman Michael Whatley said he previously worked for the Hooton's and said the situation needs to see improvements.

"Our apologizies for what's taking place and the inconvenience," Councilman Kenneth Morgan said. "Unfortunately, sometimes you inherit things that have come down to you. This was before we got here. We'd ask that you'd be patient with us and give us the benefit of the doubt. We're doing everything at this moment to try to rectify those situations and, trust me, we will get through it immediately."

Looking across Pace Street, cars are barely visible over the new sidewalk. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the change order, which was approved unanimously by the council, is a step in the right direction to correct the project in its construction stage. He said the project is funded 80% by the Georgia Department of Transportation, but at this time the change order cost of $39,850.50 is being covered completely by the city. 

"We need to move forward with this request and get this crew back to working," he said. "If we do not do this, it will be a longer project because we will have to go back, get with GDOT and have further discussions and as you all know that all moves very slowly."