SUWANEE -- The start of a long-awaited project near the interchange of Interstate 85 began this week.
A landscaping and hardscaping project that was planned more than three years ago -- before the Service Delivery dispute with Gwinnett County began -- had its first signs of progress this week. The project is around the I-85 interchange along Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road from the new police substation to Sawmill Road.
Suwanee city officials hope the project conveys a more positive image of the Gateway area that has been home to several closed businesses and crime activity in recent years.
In August, the Council awarded a contract to the Brickman Group of Lawrenceville for $285,845, which includes installation and one year of maintenance.
The project will have 11 small plazas near the corners of the interchanges and northbound and southbound ramps from I-85 to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. There will also be three plazas where Sawmill Road meets Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suwanee Planning Director Josh Campbell said, and a variety of benches and trash cans. The landscaping will include 250 trees, about 6,100 shrubs and some sodded areas.
The project comes within months of the city unveiling a police substation and training facility in the area, construction of an Ultra Car Wash is under way and a rezoning request was recently approved for a self-storage facility.
"We're starting to get a little momentum, and money invested in the area," Campbell said after the Council awarded the contract. "The economy overall is picking up, and we're seeing that things are happening. We wanted to contribute."
The Gateway area has long been a priority for city officials. And during the city's 20/20 strategic vision discussions, city residents also pegged it as the top goal for planning, and how the residents want the city to grow.
The project is expected to be completed in the next six weeks, and will include some restriping of crosswalks and repair of broken sidewalks in the area. Lane closures are not anticipated.