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New plan for Duluth Highway widening

DULUTH - City leaders hope the eighth time is the charm for a plan to relieve traffic through downtown Duluth.

City Administrator Phil McLemore said leaders have settled on a plan to widen the Ga. Highway 120 route through downtown Duluth, the eighth concept considered to relieve traffic.

A previous plan to create a short cut-through to get highway travelers out of the city's business district is no longer feasible, he said, because a project to revitalize the former city hall corridor will require a parking deck to be built on the land formerly reserved for the project.

The project at the former city hall, a historic church, includes a mixture of offices, retail and residential.

Instead, the city has plans for intersection improvements at Ga. 120 and Buford Highway, where design plans are under way, as well as the widening of Ga. 120 as it passes Duluth High School and intersection improvements at the highway and a new hospital connector.

"Hopefully, it will help move traffic downtown faster," McLemore said.

The city also hopes to create sidewalks and streetscapes along the route from Hill Street to West Lawrenceville Street. McLemore said the plan is for brick crosswalks and to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

McLemore said he hopes to have construction begin in six to nine months, but before engineering plans can be completed, the city has to get approval from the railroad company for additional property.