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City to receive stimulus money for Turner Lake roundabout
Will also get money to move utilities for 278/142 construction
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The city of Covington got some good news last week when the Georgia Department of Transportation decided that stimulus money would pay for all $900,000 of the city’s planned roundabout at the intersection of Turner Lake Road and Clark Street.

The roundabout is being constructed because a lot of accidents occur at the intersection when drivers try to turn left onto Clark Street, City Manager Steve Horton said previously. Because roundabouts don’t allow for pedestrian crossings, an underground pedestrian tunnel will also be built.

Originally, a state grant was going to pay for $175,000 of the project, with special project local option sales tax money covering the rest. But Mayor Kim Carter announced on Thursday that all $900,000 will be covered by the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Program.

The project was originally supposed to be bid out this summer, but Carter said the project is now expected to be let in December.

The city is also going to be receiving stimulus money to cover the cost of moving existing utility infrastructure, water and gas pipes and electrical equipment, when GDOT widens and resurfaces the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. Highway 142 in 2010.

The project is expected to cost around $3 million, which the city had planned to pay out of its budget, but GDOT informed Covington that the city would be receiving stimulus money for that as well.

The stimulus money will pay to move the utilities to account for the widened road. However, city officials are taking this opportunity to replace some of the pipes with larger pipes, and upgrading the electrical infrastructure to meet the increased service needs of the area. For instance the 4-inch water main will be upgraded to a 6-inch water main.

The stimulus money will cover much of this cost, because the city will only be responsible for paying for the difference between the old infrastructure and the new infrastructure. The city will have to pay this difference up front to cover part of GDOT’s liability.

The city is also planning to lay some new sewer and water lines and will pay for this cost.

Robert Moon, Georgia Department of Transportation Assistant Area Engineer, said the resurfacing project is expected to be let for bid in October is expected to take up to 24 months to complete. Ga. 142, from the Wendy’s south past 278 down to the entrance of Ingles, and U.S. 278, from Mamie’s Kitchen west beyond the old Wal-Mart, will both be widened to a total of four lanes and will have medians and turning lanes added. GDOT is paying for all of the road construction.