Rockdale County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the hiring of a contractor for the Old Covington Highway widening project at its Tuesday voting session.
The contractor, Lilburn-based CMES, will be awarded $4.348 for the construction of the project, that will connect two sides of Old Covington Highway underneath the Ga. Highway 138 bridge, reconstruct the intersection of Green St. and Old Covington and widen and reconstruct all of Old Covington.
Georgia Department of Transportation awarded the Rockdale Department of Transportation $1 million to help fund the project. The rest of the cost is being split between the 2005 Transportation special local option sales tax, $2.72 million, and the Rockdale Water Resources SPLOST, $624,615.
Post 1 Commissioner Oz Nesbitt made the motion to approve the contract. He says that this project will drastically reduce congestion on Ga. Highway 138 and improve public safety by allowing fire and law enforcement vehicles another throughway.
"I think most all residents will be excited about the improvement there at Dogwood (Road) and (Ga. Highway) 138. That is one of the most congestion areas, poor engineering I must say," he said during the voting session. "We want this to move as fast and expeditiously as it possibly can."
Director of RDOT Miguel Valentin says that now that the contract has been approved by the board, and once all parties involved sign contracts, construction should begin within about 30 days.
The first phase of work will be the relocation of utilities along the existing right-of-way of Old Covington. Construction to extend Old Covington Highway underneath Ga. Highway 138 probably won't begin until sometime during the spring, says Valentin.
Nesbitt recommending putting up signs during construction to warn customers about any impending inconveniences they may have traveling to along the roads during the holiday season.
Glancing over to Tonya Parker, director of community affairs for Rockdale County, in the audience, Nesbitt hinted at getting a campaign started to notify citizens about the construction work forth coming.
"They get a little frustrated when they see stuff going on and they're being inconvenienced, but when they know it's for the greater good of the community... they have a better understanding and appreciation," said Nesbitt.
The whole project is expected to be done either later 2015 or the early months of 2016.
In other county business, the county approved the first reading of a proposed ordinance regulating the definitions and use of child and adult day care centers.
The ordinance will now move the Planning Commission.
Director of the Planning Department Marshall Walker says this is only a draft and he fully expects to get more comments from the Planning Commission, citizens and board members moving forward.
The Planning Commission's next meeting is Nov. 13.