SNELLVILLE - It's the day commuters using U.S. Highway 78 have been waiting for since September 2007 when the $31 million project began.
That's because Monday, assuming the weather is good enough this weekend, the reversible lane system will only be a memory.
"By the time motorists begin their Monday morning commute the reversible lane system on U.S. Highway 78 will be gone," said Georgia DOT District Engineer Russell McMurry. "Starting Sunday night at 9 p.m. crews will begin removing the final section of the reversible lane system from Highpoint Road to Ga. Highway 124."
McMurry said workers will take out the overhead reversible lane signage and restripe the roadway with a center turning lane, three westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes. These lanes will remain in place until project completion when three lanes are opened in each direction, he said.
The completion and removal of what some considered a dangerous system to begin with drew praise from the new leadership of the Evermore Community Improvement District.
"This is an important initial step in our strategic plan for improving the quality of place here at Evermore," said Interim Executive Director Jim Brooks. "The additional lanes, the median and the addition of timed lights and dynamic signal modification will allow traffic to flow more smoothly and with greater safety for the 60,000 or more motorists who travel the corridor every day."
The recently rehired Director of Economic Development David Stedman said hitting this milestone was only the beginning of more great changes to come.
"This is the beginning of our extreme makeover, the transformation of U.S. Highway 78 into a dynamic commerce corridor that will attract new businesses, encourage capital investment and bring new jobs and new opportunity to the people of south Gwinnett," Stedman said. "We plan to add sidewalks, landscaping, signage and decorative benches to create a vibrant community where people will be able to live, work and play."
In the meantime, the project work continues on U.S. 78 from Killian Hill and Bethany Church roads to Highpoint Road as crews there will begin installing the concrete median. Workers will also pave and stripe the newly widened roadway for three lanes in each direction. Motorists should expect overnight work to occur every weeknight as weather permits.
The DOT said the project is currently on schedule for its November 30 completion date. The DOT also urges travelers to call 511, a free phone service, for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes. Additional information is also available at www.511ga.org.