As of Wednesday, July 4, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Two motorist take the recently opened exit ramp off Ga. Highway 316 eastbound, granting access to Sugarloaf Parkway south, in Dacula on Monday.
DACULA -- The key connection in a five-year-long project to extend Sugarloaf Parkway has finally been reached.
Officials opened half of the parkway's new interchange with Ga. Highway 316 on Monday, allowing traffic in Dacula to travel to the other side of Lawrenceville without crossing through the center of town.
"It's been a lot of work by a lot of people," Deputy Transportation Director Alan Chapman said of the four projects totalling $78 million to complete the six-mile limited access route east. "I think it really opens up access for the eastern part of the county."
Construction continues on two bridges and ramps that will complete the interchange, but as of Monday, drivers taking Ga. 316 east could travel onto Sugarloaf Parkway south, and those driving north on Sugarloaf could enter Ga. 316 eastbound.
Chapman said the work is on schedule to complete the work by the end of the year.
"The sections that have opened have gotten a lot of use," Chapman said, adding that traffic is expected to pick up once the connection to Ga. 316 is complete.
"It's kind of the final piece to this phase," he aid. "We do expect the traffic to go up significantly."
Later this month, voters will consider a regional sales tax referendum, which could fund a planned extension of the parkway north to Sugar Hill, creating a loop around Lawrenceville.