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Road work closes lanes on 278
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Drivers traveling U.S. Highway 278 in Covington during the work week could run into traffic delays as construction on the highway's medians and turn lanes will close one lane in each direction for the next handful of months.

The work is part of a $409,946 state project that is putting in new medians and left-turn lanes to increase safety at turning points from Newton Medical Center at Mill Street to Mamie's Kitchen at Industrial Boulevard.

Robert Moon, area engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said the highway lane closures will be daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. There will be no closures on the weekends. The project's completion date is Nov. 30.

Terry Savage, assistant transportation director for the city of Covington, said the grass medians between Mill Street and Industrial Boulevard are being replaced with fully-concrete medians and said the left-turn lanes are being altered so that the east and west-bound turn lanes don't meet head on.

By having the left-turn lanes moved further to the left, the driver making the left turn will have greater visibility because his vision won't be hindered by a driver going the opposite direction also trying to make a left turn.

This type of turn lane was previously installed on U.S. 278, where Floyd Street meets the highway, and at some points along Ga. Highway 142 North.

Savage said the city paid $67,044 for engineering costs for the project, while the state is covering the $409,946 for construction. Conyers-based Pittman Construction is doing the work.

Savage said that according to a 2011count, the average daily traffic on U.S. 278 where the construction is taking place was 27,343 cars. The daily average traffic is predicted to rise to 37,732 cars by 2031.

The average daily traffic count for U.S. 278 near the Ga. Highway 142 intersection was 46,000 in 2010, a state official said previously.

Construction at U.S. 278/Ga. 142 intersection is nearly complete

As for the massive $12 million widening of U.S. 278and Ga. 142, Moon said the project is nearly complete.

As of Wednesday, 95 percent of the project's funds had been spent, Moon said, and the only work remaining was to put in traffic signal loop detectors, which allow traffic signals to detect when cars are waiting at a light.

Moon said there will also be more clean up.

"The department (of transportation) will do a final inspection after all pay items are complete and time has stopped," Moon said in an email.

The project has a final completion date of Oct. 31, 2012.