Last week of work at Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 316

LAWRENCEVILLE - Drivers, brace yourselves for one last set of lane-closures before the work on the Interstate 85 at Ga. Highway 316 interchange nears completion.

Nearly three years after the $147 million reconstruction project began, crews expect to finish up the work by this weekend - more than two months ahead of schedule - Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

After lane closures overnight tonight, officials expect to open the last stretch of high-occupancy vehicle lanes Wednesday morning, extending the lane two miles from Sugarloaf Parkway to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Also expected to be complete is striping of a new auxiliary lane from Old Peachtree Road to Lawrenceville-Suwanee.

"This auxiliary lane will give motorists more room to merge on and off the interstate," District Engineer Russell McMurry said.

Then, beginning Wednesday night, crews will work to add a top layer of asphalt for the final paving work on I-85 north from Pleasant Hill to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. The work will mean nightly lane closures of one to three northbound lanes from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. If weather permits, the work will wrap up Saturday morning.

"Once this driving surface is finished, the project will be finished - more than two months ahead of its scheduled Dec. 31 completion date," McMurry said. "It should dramatically improve both traffic flow and safety and we very much appreciate the public's patience while construction has been under way."

Planning and design of the project began nine years ago, with the use of Gwinnett County sales tax dollars speeding the work along, officials said.

"Our citizens have allowed us to utilize the one-cent special purpose local option sales tax to improve the safety and mobility of our traveling public," Gwinnett Transportation Director Brian Allen said.