After working for 15 straight hours, construction crews should be finished working on Highway 36 around the square by noon today — assuming the rain holds off. The completion of the entire 2.7 mile 36 resurfacing project should be finished by Friday, said Robert Moon, Assistant Area Engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Pittman Construction Company is resurfacing 36, from the Covington ByPass intersection through the square and out to Emory Street, at a cost of $567,980. Moon said Pittman was resurfacing the square, all turn lanes and any side street areas first and would then work on the main line of 36 to increase efficiency. That main line will be down to one lane each way during the construction.
The resurfacing is doubly relevant, because it’s a prelude to a road ownership swap between Covington and the state. For the past seven years, Covington has been discussing taking ownership of the section of 36 within the city limits in order to remove semi-truck traffic from downtown and gain complete ownership of the square, to make square event planning and road closings more efficient, Covington Transportation Manager Billy Skinner said. Currently, the state has to give approval for any road closing around the square, which is often a required step for events.
In return, the state would take over ownership of the Covington ByPass Road from 36 to U.S. Highway 278, which the city and county resurfaced five years ago with state aid, Skinner said. Truck traffic would then be re-routed onto the ByPass Road to 278.
That section of ByPass Road is currently a temporary state route, State Route 978, so trucks are allowed to use it, but can also still use 36.
DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure confirmed the discussion between the state and Covington, but said nothing has been finalized yet. Other DOT officials could not be reached for more details Thursday or Friday, because of mandatory furlough days. Skinner said he expected the swap to take place later this year.