Work at the intersection of State Road 81 and Crowell Road should be finished about a year after it begins in September, Newton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Keith Ellis said Friday.
A stoplight and turning lanes are planned for the busy intersection.
“Newton County’s portion (of the $1.6 million to $1.8 million bill) will be the 2005 SPLOST,” Ellis said. “The city of Porterdale is also participating and has made a commitment of $300,000 toward the project.”
Other projects set to begin soon are “work on the Flat Shoals intersection, Brown Bridge intersection and ultimately the interchange at 1-20” along the Covington Bypass, Ellis said. “This is one of our busiest roads. All of these intersections are chokepoints during the heaviest travel times Working on intersection chokepoints gives instant benefit to traffic congestions and are much less expensive than road-widening projects.”
But what about Salem Road? Will it be improved or widened anytime soon? The answer: Define “soon.”
“The widening has been discussed for years now without any movement from the (state Department of Transportation),” he said. “As I stated above, widening projects are very expensive. Therefore, DOT pushed that project further out. Currently the proposed date to begin construction is the year 2020. I am working with DOT to move that up by two years. The current plan is for Salem Road to widen to four lanes and bypass the Historic Salem Campground.”
The method for deciding which roads to resurface is a scientific one, not arbitrary or subjective, Ellis explained.
“We have a system to score each road. The score is determined by several factors to arrive at a numerical score. We consider the road condition, the posted speed limit, and traffic counts as a basis for our final decision,” he said. “For example, subdivision roads would rate lower in priority than a main county road where speed limits and traffic counts are higher. Taxpayer dollars, Splost monies, and a state program referred to as LMIG usually fund Newton Counties road system improvements.
The county fortunately has developed a good relationship with the DOT.
“We have had good success in developing a working relationship with GDOT,” he said. “Since I have been in office we have received assistance on two major intersection projects and a bridge repair. The Flint Hill School intersection and the Alcovy Trestle realignment at SR 11 are two examples of upcoming projects which we will receive funding from DOT. This is a direct result of our working relationship with their district office.”
For more information or to ask Ellis questions on any topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.