The roads around the square are, at last, no longer a state highway after the city of Covington and Georgia Department of Transportation formalized the swap of a portion of Jackson Highway/Monticello Street for a portion of the Covington Bypass Road.
The two entities had been working on finalizing details of the swap for around a decade, and the switch will make downtown event planning and filming more convenient, as the city will no longer have to get state permission to block off roads.
New signs were unveiled on the Covington Bypass Road Monday, while the Ga. Highway 36 signs on the square and elsewhere in Covington were taken down.
The Covington Bypass Road, from its intersection with Ga. Highway 36/Jackson Highway to U.S. Highway 278, will now also become part of Ga. 36 and the official route for all tractor trailer traffic.
Jackson Highway, from the Covington Bypass Road up to the square, will now revert to a city road.
The Covington City Council previously voted to officially rename the portion of road between King Street and the Covington Bypass Road to Jackson Highway, its traditional name.
The change will affect 52 residents who currently have either Highway 36 or Monticello Street addresses.
The portion of the road from Clark Street to King Street will continue to be named Monticello Street.
Newton County was also involved because part of the Covington Bypass Road was a county road.
"Newton County is pleased to work with the GDOT and City of Covington to re-route through traffic on (the new Ga.) Highway 36 to alleviate traffic issues around the downtown square," Chairman Kathy Morgan said by email. "As Chairman, I understand the importance of collaboration between the State of Georgia, Newton County and all municipalities within our county to better serve our citizens."