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Oak Hill, Ga. 212, called death trap, to get traffic light
To be completed by Oct. 1, 2011
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A traffic light is still coming to the intersection of Oak Hill Road and Ga. Highway 212, but it might not be completed until September 2011.

On Tuesday, the Newton County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $106,548 bid from Moye Electric of Dublin to install the traffic signal; the money comes from previously allocated federal stimulus money. Chairman Kathy Morgan said in a Thursday e-mail that the contract calls for completion prior to Oct. 1, 2011.

The county has been working to address the intersection because of fatal accidents in prior years; District 2 Commissioner Earnest Simmons has called the intersection a "death trap."

In January, the BOC approved a $114,509 task order for engineering studies for the traffic signal, and officials said at the time they expected the signal to be up later this year.

Morgan said the project was supposed to be funded in February, but the Georgia Department of Transportation and Atlanta Regional Commission promised more stimulus money to communities than ended up being available at the time. The project received final approval in late August.

The traffic signal would only be a temporary five to 10-year solution Morgan said, lasting until the state pays for a permanent solution.

At some point the state plans to widen Ga. 212 from the Oak Hill intersection, south to Bethany Road. However, the state pulled funding from this project in 2008, and the project has been moved back to 2013 at the earliest, former County Engineer Kevin Walter said.

During a discussion on The Covington News' Facebook page about the newly opened Denny Dobbs Park, located on Oak Hill Road, several posters said they enjoyed the park but were concerned about the "death-trap" intersection and other nearby problem spots.

"I can't even keep up with how many accidents I have seen at Oak Hill and 212 and also Butler Bridge and 212," wrote Pam Salters Williams. "We need help out here."

Another construction stimulus project was also approved Tuesday night. The BOC approved a $380,289 bid from Pittman Construction to pave 2. 5 miles of Gum Creek Road from Ga. Highway 81 to Ellis Trail.

Walter said previously that Gum Creek Road is in very bad shape and will have to be patched in several places before it can even be resurfaced. He said if wasn't fixed soon, water might be able to leak into the base of the road through the potholes; in which case the entire road would have to be milled up and repaved - an expensive proposition. A starting construction date has not yet been announced.