Not so fast: DOT to close lanes after all

LAWRENCEVILLE - Department of Transportation officials spoke too soon about a reprieve for commuters on construction on Ga. Highway 316 at Interstate 85.

District Engineer Russell McMurry announced Tuesday that lanes would be closed today and Thursday for the $150 million project to redesign the interchange.

The DOT had previously announced it would give commuters a break from lane closures even though construction would continue this week, but department spokeswoman Teri Pope said the crews completed the work scheduled for this week earlier than expected.

"It's the truth as we know it when we know it," she said of the construction schedules. "They didn't expect to be to this point. But we don't want to waste time."

McMurry concurred.

"To facilitate construction on the new bridge from (Ga.) 316 westbound to I-85 southbound we will have lane closures (today) and Thursday," he said. "Work went faster than expected this week and we don't want to waste time so we will now have lane closures but they will be out of the way before you leave for Memorial Day weekend Friday."

Pope said the plan is to complete work with enough time to take a break for the holiday - no closures Friday through Monday.

But today and Thursday, the outside lane of I-85 south will be closed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for grading along the shoulder of the roadway.

According to the schedule, traffic will be paced or stopped on I-85 and Ga. 316 on Thursday overnight into early Friday morning, so equipment can be moved to begin construction of the substructure for the first three sections of the two new bridges from Ga. 316 west.

Traffic will be stopped for about 10 minutes about every 30 minutes from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. I-85 southbound traffic will be stopped at Sugarloaf Parkway. I-85 northbound traffic will be stopped at Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

To check on the status of lane closures, visit the DOT's Web site at www.georgianavigator.com.