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County to repair, pave 7 roads
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Newton County is receiving its annual road-paving funding boost from the state, and residents will see work on seven roads this fall.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted last week to approve spending $337,512 as a local match to receive $894,910 in state funding to repair and pave local roads.

Bids for the work are due Sept. 17. County Transportation Director Tom Garrett hopes to present bids to the board at the Sept. 24 meeting and said work could begin within a week or two of approval and take some 45 to 60 days to complete.

Local funding will come from the 2011 SPLOST and the general fund.

The Somerset Springs subdivision and Highlands Forest Lane were both on the 2011 SPLOST list, Garrett told the board last week, so $283,090 in SPLOST funding will be used for those roads and will cover the county’s required 30 percent local match for all seven projects.

Garrett said the county is using SPLOST projects and money to avoid depleting the general fund’s paving budget, which is only $400,000-plus for the entire year; $54,422 would still come out of the general fund budget.

The five remaining roads — Williams, County Road 229, Fairview, Cowan and Flat Shoals — are rated among the worst in the county.

County Commissioner John Douglas asked why the portion of County Road 229 heading south from Willow Wood Road wasn’t being paved, because he said the area has many potholes close to the Cooper Road intersection. Garrett said the traffic count was much higher on the portion of the road north to U.S. 278.

Chairman Keith Ellis said officials were trying to make decisions based on facts and figures, including traffic counts and accident reports.