LAWRENCEVILLE — One word became the recurring theme Tuesday night: overdue.
Residents and public officials gathered at Georgia Gwinnett College for an open house regarding the resulting detours from construction of an interchange at Ga. Highway 316 and Ga. Highway 20, tempering their excitement for completion of the project with discussion of what will happen in the meantime.
“It’s going to be an inconvenience, but it needs to happen, and that’s the best way to make it happen,” Lawrenceville resident Lisa Oden said. “What we’ve been dealing with ... has been more traumatizing than the detours are going to be.”
The first detour will direct eastbound traffic on Ga. Highway 316 from Collins Hill Road onto Hurricane Shoals Road and then onto Ga. Highway 20 to access Ga. Highway 316 east.
The second will close Collins Industrial Way at the intersection of Collins Hill Road. That traffic would be routed onto University Center Lane from Collins Hill Road to access Collins Industrial Way.
The project is expected to be put out for bid next summer, with perspective detours to begin next fall. Tuesday’s meeting was aimed at getting feedback from those the detours will affect.
“I think it’s way overdue,” said Garvie Bailey, a Suwanee resident who owns a business in the affected area. “I just would like to see it done, completed. I know it’s going to be a pain while it’s going on, but it’s something that needs to be done.”
Said Lawrenceville City Council member P.K. Martin: “I’m sure the detour issues are going to be tough for a while. But I haven’t heard any feedback other than people are excited.”
The entire project — which would eliminate traffic lights at Ga. Highway 316’s intersections with Collins Hill Road and Ga. Highway 20 by raising those roads over Ga. 316 — would take two to three years to complete, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said.
The detour at Collins Industrial Way would greatly affect Georgia Gwinnett College students, who already have to deal with significant traffic to get to classes.
“We are looking forward to the completion of this project,” said Eddie Beauchamp, vice president for facilities and operations at Georgia Gwinnett College. “As our enrollment grows to 8,000 and to 11,000 students, improved traffic flow along Route 316 will be important in enabling students to get to and from campus more efficiently.”
For more information and to comment, visit www.dot.ga.gov. Under “Information Center,” select “Public Outreach” and Gwinnett County. Details and maps of proposed detours are under the link to “construction of grade separated interchange SR316.”