LAWRENCEVILLE -- Crews are working quickly on a step in the Ga. Highway 316/Ga. Highway 20 interchange project to make way for fall classes to begin at Georgia Gwinnett College.
This week, crews closed Collins Industrial Way to change the grade of the intersection with Collins Hill Road, compressing about a month's worth of work into a week to make way for an uptick in traffic expected as the fall semester approaches.
"Their people come and go four or six times a day instead of just to work and then home at the end of the day," Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said of the college's 10,000 students, faculty and staff. "Their commute patterns are definitely different and we are working with the college to meet the needs of their community."
Pope said the work is going well and, if weather permits, could reopen earlier than the current plan of Saturday. That gives ample time before the start of classes Aug. 20
"In the short term, the construction will certainly present some challenges but in the long term, the improvements to the Collins Hill Road intersection with Highway 316 will be truly beneficial to the college as well as the Lawrenceville community," said Eddie Beauchamp, the college's vice president for facilities and operations.
Over the weekend, the project -- which includes a collector-distributor system between Ga. 316's intersections at Collins Hill Road and Ga. 20 -- reached another milestone, shifting traffic over about 100 feet onto new lanes of Collins Hill, so that construction of a new bridge over Ga. 316 could begin.
The shift, which is expected to last throughout construction, allowed three bridge crews to report to the site Tuesday. If the weather allows, the crews will begin work on the bridge footings -- the deep holes with concrete and still that support the bridge -- Pope said, and could mean the bridge will begin to rise up from the ground this week.
Pope said the two changes -- the detour from Collins Industrial and the shift to Collins Hill -- caused some confusion over the weekend, but crews have made changes to help drivers.
"As Collins Industrial Way reopens, the shift on Collins Hill will operate more smoothly and most motorists won't notice. They just follow the striping," she said.