COVINGTON, Ga. - With the thousands of guests descending on the City of Covington for the annual Stars and Stripes Fest Independence Day celebration, City of Covington officials have created “Operation Red, White and Go!,” a traffic master plan to ease congestion after one of the south’s largest fireworks display ends.
“We know from past Fourth of July events the Square and surrounding area will be extremely crowded with people excited to celebrate our nation’s independence,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “I applaud the Covington Police Department for being proactive and implementing Operation Red, White and Go!, ensuring our guests and residents spend as little time as possible sitting in traffic.”
While the increased number of visitors does not cause concern for city officials, it does create the need for an organized, structured traffic plan to be implemented by the City of Covington Police Department.
“We will have officers at strategic intersections and locations monitoring and directing traffic,” Covington Police Department (CPD) Captain Ken Malcom said. “With the volume of people we are expecting, a plan is necessary and we are very confident that with the cooperation of those attending, everyone will get to their destination much faster than years past.
“I would also ask that if you are not planning on coming to the downtown area to enjoy the festivities, please avoid the area.”
Featuring traffic alterations for the majority of the city, “Operation Red, White and Go!” is designed to make traffic egress as expeditious as possible and lane closures will begin to go into effect at 8 p.m. on July 4.
“We encourage everyone to come early, bring their patience and park strategically and legally,” Malcom said. “Remember everyone has the same goal of getting home after the event so be courteous and tune to 92.3 FM for live updates from the Covington Police Department.”
Below are highlights from the plan, which can be viewed in its entirety at www.cityofcovington.org.
Access Road @ Turner Lake Rd
No traffic will be allowed to travel east on Hwy 278 from this intersection. All traffic will have to turn onto I-20 West or turn south on Turner Lake Road. Traffic heading west upon entering this intersection may turn in any direction.
West Street @ Hwy 278
No traffic will be allowed to travel east on Hwy 278 from this intersection. All traffic will travel west towards I-20 or north on West Street
Emory Street @ Hwy. 278
Traffic travelling west on Highway 278 will be allowed to turn onto Emory Street, north bound. Traffic travelling north on Emory Street from Washington Street can continue travelling north on Emory Street across Highway 278 or turn west bound on Highway 278.
If exiting from any area within Newton Plaza, vehicles will travel westbound only. The center turn lane will also be a west bound lane, creating three lanes of travel on Highway 278.
Pace Street @ Mill Street
All traffic traveling north from the square area will have to turn west on Hwy 278. No traffic will travel east on Hwy 278.
Elm Street @ Hwy. 278
Motorists travelling west bound on Highway 278 prior to the Elm Street intersection must turn north onto Elm Street. North bound traffic on Elm Street prior to the Highway 278 intersection must turn east bound on Highway 278. Traffic will not be allowed to turn back towards the Covington Square.
Mill Street @ Hwy 278
No traffic will be allowed to travel south on Mill Street.
Floyd Street @ Hwy 278
No traffic will be allowed to travel west on Floyd Street. All traffic traveling east upon entering Hwy 278 must travel east towards Hwy 142 bypass.
Hwy. 278 and Hwy. 142 Intersection
Motorists travelling west bound on Highway 278 will not be allowed to travel past the Highway 142 intersection and must turn north on Highway 142. Those travelling south on Highway 142 will not be able to turn west bound on Highway 278 and those travelling north on Highway 142 must continue travelling north or turn east on Highway 278.
All traffic will travel north on Alcovy Road. No traffic will be permitted south on Alcovy Road past I-20 eastbound ramp.
No traffic will be permitted to travel north on Washington Street past Flat Shoals Road. All traffic will be south on Washington Street.