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County marks completion of road project

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

A rural intersection in Henry County is safer after road improvements were finished, said a county official.

The Henry County Board of Commissioners celebrated the completion of work on the intersection of Ga. Highway 81 at Keys Ferry Road.

The completed project includes a traffic signal, and turning lanes on both Highway 81, and Keys Ferry Road. The commissioners held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 21.

The total cost of the improvements was $582,651.81, which includes design, and right-of-way acquisition costs funded out of the county's Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) II program, said Julie Hoover-Ernst, Henry County's communications director. The intersection was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, headquartered in New York City, and constructed by Pittman Construction Company in Conyers.

A little more than $500,000 of the funding for much of the construction came from federal stimulus dollars, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, allowing SPLOST III funds -- previously set aside for the work -- to be diverted to other designated SPLOST projects, Hoover-Ernst added.

Traffic flow through the area has improved "a tremendous amount," said District I County Commissioner Warren Holder.

"It's amazing," said Holder. "For so long, people trying to enter Highway 81 were impacted, and traffic could back up from a quarter, to a half mile, because there was no signalization, and the Highway 81 traffic didn't stop ... citizens will be able to get entry to Highway 81, making it a much safer intersection."