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Reversible lanes to disappear this week on part of U.S. 78

LAWRENCEVILLE - Drivers heading downtown from Snellville on Thursday morning will notice a change when the reversible lane signs on part of U.S. Highway 78 in Stone Mountain finally come down.

"The roadway will be vastly different," Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said. "Thursday morning will be vastly different than it has been for 20 years."

Beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, workers will restripe the section of U.S. 78 between East Park Place and Stone Drive and remove the reversible lane signs, eliminating the system for that stretch of road.

Work will take place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. seven days a week. Beginning Friday, the outside eastbound lane will be closed for those hours as the project to convert the reversible lane to a median gets under way.

The daily work will only take place until the laser show begins at Stone Mountain Park. Once the show starts, no work will take place Friday or Saturday nights, Pope said.

"If you travel during the day, you're going to be fine," she said of delays due to construction. "If you travel at night, we're going to be in your way, but we're thankful and glad to be in your way."

The median project is due to be finished in November 2009. It will cost more than $31 million.

While construction of the median takes place, there will be two lanes headed eastbound and three headed westbound, with a center turn lane.

Brett Harrell, the director of the Evermore Community Improvement District, said he is very excited to get to the project's construction phase. But he worried that the 1,500 businesses along the road might suffer as construction continued.

"We need people to try to be on the road throughout the construction process," he said. "I'm hopeful it won't be too bad."

Construction will take place in four phases. The second will be Stone Drive to Killian Hill Road, then Killian Hill Road to Highpoint Road and finally Highpoint Road to Ga. Highway 124. When the project is finished, the road will have three lanes in each direction, with sidewalks on both sides of the street and a raised concrete median.

Pope urged drivers to call 511, a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, for information about the project. Drivers can also e-mail her to receive construction updates at tpope@dot.ga.gov.