GDOT Set to Let Record Road Project

Wed October 12, 2005 - Southeast Edition

ATLANTA (AP) The state Department of Transportation board has agreed to spend approximately $100 million to reconstruct the Interstate 85 and GA 316 interchange in what could be the single largest contract in the department’s history.

The project will include construction on 13 bridges at that interchange and car pool lanes along both roads.

The project, which will take more than three years to complete, will be put out for bid sometime in October. Construction at the Gwinnett County interchange is expected to begin in the winter.

Board Member Mike Evans, who represents part of Gwinnett County, said the project is good news for commuters.

“They’ve been waiting a long time,” said Evans, the board’s vice chairman. “There’s a lot of traffic out there.”

The Transportation Department’s traffic counts show an average of 263,000 drivers pass through the intersection daily.

Commuters would see relief from traffic woes in the form of 7 mi. of new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on each side of Interstate 85 and extended HOV lanes.

The configuration of 11 mi. of new frontage roads is expected to reduce the amount of weaving from lane to lane by motorists, DOT Spokeswoman Vicki Gavalas said.

The plan called for 11 existing bridges to be rebuilt and two new ones to be built. The new bridges will fly over northbound and southbound Interstate 85 — crossing over 10 lanes — so that motorists can exit directly onto a road or merge into Interstate 85 southbound.

The project will not affect a proposal to turn GA 316 into a toll road. That proposal, which is on hold indefinitely, did not include the interchange work, Gavalas said.