Traffic Safety Analysis Will Help Pave Way for AHPS Merger

Traffic Safety Analysis Will Help Pave Way for AHPS Merger
Posted on 03/01/2023

LOW MOOR — A traffic safety analysis of Covington is part of overall planning for the full consolidation of Alleghany Highlands Public Schools in the fall.

In particular, the study will focus on Covington High School, which will become a middle school for the joint school division in the fall. The conversion of the building on South Lexington Avenue is expected to bring a higher influx of traffic. 

“We will be looking at current traffic patterns and decide how we can accommodate the new traffic,” said Thomas Ruff, a project manager for the Richmond-based Timmons Group.

“This analysis will help us determine how to best utilize the transportation system to develop bus patterns, and drop-off patterns for parents who choose to bring their students to school,” Ruff said.

The study will begin in March with the installation of a camera system to monitor traffic patterns on roadways that lead to the school. The cameras will also monitor bus drop-off sites and areas where parents drop off students. Lexington Avenue, Oak Street, Chestnut Street, and entrances to the school will be the primary focus areas. The work may also involve visits to other Alleghany Highlands Public Schools sites, particularly Jeter-Watson Elementary School and Clifton Middle School.  Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 currently attend those schools, and the information can help the Timmons Group make the most appropriate recommendations for Covington Middle School.  

“We will be collecting information on where the traffic in that area is going today. We will not be recording license plate numbers or people’s faces,” Ruff said.

In addition, Ruff and other Timmons personnel will likely be on-site in March to personally observe the traffic patterns and take photographs. Timmons personnel will not be going on school grounds or making personal contact with students.

The study is expected to be complete by mid-spring to early summer. The findings will be presented to the City of Covington and representatives from the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division. The analysis will include two options for the city and school officials to consider.

The study is being commissioned by the City of Covington with City Manager Allen Dressler serving as the lead project manager. The city will be working closely with AHPS representatives during the course of the study.

“We appreciate our local government partners, especially the City of Covington for heading up this project, and helping us work through the challenges of traffic management around our school facilities,” said Eric Tyree, director of transportation and maintenance for AHPS. “Without the support of our local partners, it would be much more difficult to navigate the changes that lie ahead.”

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created when Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center merged on July 1, 2022. The initial phase of the merger combined the school boards and administrative offices. The schools will be fully consolidated this fall, with the major changes occurring at Covington High School and Alleghany High School.

Covington High School will become Covington Middle School and house grades 6-8. Alleghany High School in Valley Ridge will serve as the joint high school, and house grades 9-12. The high school will continue to be known as Alleghany High School.  Covington High School currently serves grades 8-12, and it has approximately 350 students. The conversion to a middle school in the fall is expected to bring the school’s student population to approximately 620. 

The traffic study in Covington is separate from an attendance zone analysis the school division is conducting. Transfinder, a Schenectady, N.Y.-based company, is working with AHPS to develop the most efficient bus transportation routes in preparation for the merger of schools.

In preparing for the merger, school division administrators are closely following a strategic timeline that was adopted by the school board in October 2022 and updated in February 2023. The timeline outlines an orderly and planned process for carrying out merger preparations.

With approximately 2,700 students, the Alleghany Highlands Public School Division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. School division news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools. The school’s division’s web address is

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