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Intersection solution selected
Contract given to begin construction on worst intersection

It’s been called the “worst intersection in the county,” or the “Burger King intersection.”

No matter the title, travelers to the intersection of Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell/Covington Bypass will soon have it their way. That means no more 30-40 minutes of stop-and-go traffic waiting for motorists to get through the stop signs.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners unanimously and eagerly approved the Gregory Bridge Company to take on the project for $1,824.583.25 at Tuesday night’s public meeting.

“The first day we see the earth moving is the day we will have a ground breaking,” Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis said. “I suggest Porterdale gets its $300,000 ready. We’ll be using it soon.”

The project, which has been needed for around two decades and will come from funds from the 2005 SPLOST, will start after the utilities are checked, and Porterdale combines its $300,000 SPLOST contribution.

“There have been talks about improvement in the intersection in ’90s,” Porterdale City Manager Bob Thompson said. “It’s going to help not only the entire county, but specifically have an impact on our downtown.”

Gregory Bridge Company, which according to County Manager Tom Garrett is a sister company to one used by the county in the past, was the lowest of three bidders.

ER Snell Contractor was the highest at $2,209.05, followed by Pittman Construction Company at $1,847,806.75 and then Gregory Bridge Company.

Gregory Bridge Company won the bid, and will provide services of a traffic signal, left-turn lanes, right-turn lanes on Crowel Road and Covington Bypass Road, a realignment further south of the intersection and dedicated right and left turns for Ga. Highway 162 Connector.

Officials held a ceremonial handing over of a construction permit from the Georgia Department of Transportation to Newton County back in May after the project received Department of Transportation approval. The county then solicited bids for the project on July 15 to the joy of an eager public.

Reactions at that time were all positive to as reported by The News when the project was announced in May.

Every area resident and business owners The News spoke to said the fix is long overdue, as they said the roads gets clogged every morning during the daily commute and are even worse in the afternoon, because traffic starts backing up from the time school gets out until 6-7 p.m.

Manish Lakhani has owned the Shell gas station at the intersection for six years and he’s been hearing about a potential fix since he purchased the station. Both he and Blades Beauty Shop owner Marie Davis believe better traffic flow will equal more business.

“Traffic will flow much better after the heart ache of the construction,” Thompson said.