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Hamilton Mill fixes in works

LAWRENCEVILLE - Motorists on Hamilton Mill Road will get some breathing room soon.

The state has plans to retool the road where it passes over Interstate 85, and the county intends to widen a nearby portion where a Wal-Mart Supercenter is being built.

When the work is done there will be two travel lanes going in each direction from Ga. Highway 124 to around Sardis Church Road, county and state transportation officials said.

There will also be dual turn lanes on the overpass, which handled an average of 23,355 vehicles daily in 2004, according to state traffic counts.

While the state will create new lanes by simply redoing the stripes on the overpass, the county will pour asphalt when it straightens part of Hamilton Mill Road and adds two travel lanes and several turn lanes.

"It's going to take a good bit of widening to get the additional through lanes in," said Alan Chapman, who oversees the Gwinnett Transportation Department's capital building program.

The lanes will help handle traffic that will be generated by shopping centers and townhomes that are being built where Sardis Church Road meets Hamilton Mill Road.

As part of those projects, a developer is moving Sardis Church Road so its intersection will be about 500 feet farther from the interstate interchange.

The new intersection will line up with an entrance to a large shopping center that is to be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The county's work totaling about $800,000 will be paid for with Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds, Chapman said.

The state overhauled the Hamilton Mill overpass about three years ago. Besides beefing up the turn lanes onto I-85, the upcoming tweak will also add a pedestrian crosswalk and a crossing signal.

"This is just a much cheaper way and a simpler way of doing it than putting asphalt out there," state DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said of the restriping.