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BOC gives nod to diverging diamond

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Commissioners signed off on proposals to create diverging diamond interchanges on two of Gwinnett's biggest interstate bridges, granting money for officials to get started.

During a meeting Tuesday, commissioners agreed to give $8.6 million in funding each to the Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place Community Improvement Districts. The money had been promised from county sales tax funds to replace the bridges at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road over Interstate 85.

But CID officials have recently decided on quicker, cheaper redesigns that would have people cut to the other side of the bridge, allowing for continuous flow onto the interstate. The diverging diamond interchange, which is only currently open in Missouri in the U.S., is expected to cost about $3 million for each bridge.

Long term, though, replacements will still be needed, said Gwinnett Village's Chuck Warbington, and the county money will allow the designs to begin on that as well.

"I believe it's going to be a huge success in moving traffic quicker," Commissioner Shirley Lasseter said of the diverging diamond idea.