The Covington City Council heard an update on its plans to make Pace Street a more walkable connecting corridor from the downtown Square to the Hwy. 278 commercial district during its meeting Monday night.
Bryan Bays of TSW architecture firm briefed the council on how the design phase of the project was going. The firm has completed conceptual plans, and is working on environmental documents now after conducting a public forum in September.
The Sept. 18 open house had 27 people in attendance with 10 public comments, three in support and the rest uncommitted or in opposition. The five major concerns, Bays said, are permanent lane closer and anticipated traffic during construction, driveway access to businesses during construction, ongoing maintenance of the right away, anticipated use of bike lanes and potential shifting of overhead utilities to underground.
The project is anticipated to cost $2.2 million with the Georgia Department of Transportation funding a majority of the project and the city of Covington and Newton County splitting a 20 percent match.
According to TSW’s website, the firm will use a “road diet approach,” meaning existing curb lines and underground utilities are respected, while reconfiguring the four existing travel lanes to allow for better organization and usage. The approximate 40-foot width road section will be converted into two 11-foot travel lanes, a 10-foot center median or turn lane and 4-foot bicycle lanes on either side of the roadway.
The width of the road would allow parallel parking, should it be needed at a later date.
A concern of the council, however, was if the project’s cost would still be the same when actual construction would begin.
According to Bays preliminary construction documents are scheduled to be completed in November of 2015, there would be an anticipated let date of spring of 2016, and after about a year for funding to be put in place, construction would start in April of 2017.