First work on Ga. 20 approved

LAWRENCEVILLE - Four years after the promise of a speedy widening to four lanes of all of Ga. Highway 20 in Gwinnett, officials have approved the first phase of construction.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl announced Monday that E.R. Snell Contractor Inc. was chosen to widen the road from Plantation Boulevard to Cooper/Ozora Road.

The 4.1 mile stretch through Grayson will cost $26.8 million, nearly twice what engineers originally estimated. But officials said the price of asphalt accounts for the discrepancy.

Construction is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2008.

In 2002, Gwinnett County agreed to pay $3 million to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority to help start a regional bus system. In exchange, the state agreed to widen the highway to four lanes from county line to county line.

In later phases, the highway will be widened from Cooper/Ozora Road to Ga. Highway 81 in Loganville and, in northern Gwinnett, from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to the Chattahoochee River. In a separate project, the bridge over the river will also be widened.

Also this week, Linnenkohl announced that E.R. Snell Contractor was chosen to reconstruct the interchange of Interstate 985 at Ga. Highway 53/Mundy Mill Road in Hall County. The Snellville-based company won the contract with a bid of $74.6 million, and the completion date is July 31, 2009.