Blame it on the rain: 85/316 work delayed

LAWRENCEVILLE - A day after breaking ground, the three-year reconstruction of Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 316 is already behind schedule.

On Tuesday, officials announced that plans to close lanes had to be delayed because of wet weather.

The work, which had been scheduled to continue today, will not begin until Monday - that is, if weather allows.

"We need to move some barrier wall into place so we can start work on the center support column of the Old Norcross Road Bridge over the interstate. Work will take two days to complete," the Georgia Department of Transportation District Engineer Russell McMurry said. "The best way for you to know which lanes are closing, if any are closing on this and all of our construction projects, is to check with our Web site, www.georgianavigator.com."

According to the new schedule, crews will close the inside left lane on I-85 southbound at 10 a.m. Monday, and it will remain closed until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. The lanes will reclose five hours later at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope said the timing is set to keep the construction from interrupting the morning rush hour to downtown. For the northbound traffic, construction has been scheduled to avoid interrupting drivers returning to Gwinnett in the afternoons.

Northbound work will begin at 8:30 p.m. Monday night closing the inside left lane from just south of Pleasant Hill Road to just north of Ga. 316. The work will be complete and the lanes reopened by 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. Again, the same work hours will be effective for the second day's work on Tuesday: 8:30 p.m. overnight to 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Pope said the DOT knows the $147-million construction job will be bothersome to travelers, but the schedule, she hopes, could keep the distraction to a minimum.

Also Monday, the DOT will close the southbound entrance ramp from Boggs Road to I-85. The ramp will be closed for the duration of the project.