One of Newton County’s most traveled roads, Ga. Highway 212, is being widened in spots to allow for turn lanes to improve traffic flow at and between the intersections of Oak Hill and Bethany/Butler Bridge roads.
The state’s $2.28 million construction project began Aug. 6 with the clearing of right of way for widening and is scheduled to go through July 31, 2014, according to the Georgia Dept. of Transportation’s (GDOT) online description. GDOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure said the project will consist of:
• Right and left turn lanes on Ga. 212 at the Bethany/Butler Bridge roads intersection
• Turn lanes on Ga. 212 at the Oak Hill Road intersection
• A center turn lane on Ga. 212 from the Bethany Road intersection to Denny Dobbs Park
• A replacement traffic signal at the Ga. 212 and Oak Hill Road intersection
The original project design called for a traffic signal at the Ga. 212 and Bethany/Butler Bridge roads intersection, but that part of the project has been scrapped for now.
The area has more traffic because of the addition of Denny Dobbs Park and the Porter Memorial Branch Library in recent years, and Ga. 212 had an average daily count of 10,900 vehicles in that area; the state is projecting traffic to grow significantly in upcoming years.
Traffic is expected to be maintained on the existing lanes during construction, according to the project description. If there are any needed lane closures, they will not be allowed between 6:30–8 a.m. and 1:30–3 p.m. weekdays while school is in session, according to state transportation spokeswoman Cissy McNure.
Residents have complained about accidents at the Ga. 212 and Bethany/Butler Bridge roads intersection for years. The Oak Hill and Ga. 212 intersection was also a big problem area, but a light was installed there in 2011, although no turn lanes were added. The light will have to be replaced as part of the widening.
"Many factors come into play here. We are widening (the) road by adding turn lanes, and (the) traffic signal, signal cabinet, etc. will need to be configured for the additional new roadway. We (will) put up the new signals while the old is still in operation so that we can switch off the old signal and switch on the new at the same time. All equipment we take down is brought back to our traffic signal shop for reuse," McNure said.
The widening and slight change in alignment to the intersection at Oak Hill Road and Ga. 212 will be designed to improve sight distances.
The widening project has been in the works since at least 2000. Though final figures were not available, the state’s estimated cost for engineering was $462,038, while the estimated cost to purchase rights of way was $1.24 million, according to the online project description.
To view documents for this and other road projects, go to dot.ga.gov, and click the "Project Search (TransPi)" link on the right hand sidebar; in the search screen that shows up, select "Newton" in the "County" field and then click "Go!" All projects in Newton County will show up at the bottom of the page; click on text under the "Project Title" section to go to each individual project’s page, where you can view more information and a variety of documents.
The project ID for the Ga. 212 widening is 245190, but some of the information online is outdated and no longer accurate.