SUWANEE -- City officials made a collective sigh of relief this week as the long-awaited Interstate 85 landscaping project moved a step forward.
At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council awarded a bid to the Brickman Group for $285,845, which includes installation and one year of maintenance. The project is a mixture of landscape and hardscape, and will have 11 small plazas near the corners of the interchanges and north bound and south bound ramps from I-85 to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, city Planning Director Josh Campbell said.
There will also be three plazas where Sawmill Road meets Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Campbell said, and a variety of benches and trash cans. The landscaping will include 250 trees, 6,000 shrubs, and some sodded areas.
Campbell said the timing of the project, which is expected to begin in October or November, works well with the planting season, but also coincides with recent business activity in the Gateway area.
The QuikTrip location opened in the spring, and an Ultra Car Wash and Advance Auto Parts are under construction and expected to open soon. The city has also scheduled a ceremony on Sept. 10 to open its new police substation and training facility near 85.
"We're starting to get a little momentum, and money invested in the area. The economy overall is picking up, and we're seeing that things are happening," Campbell said. "We wanted to contribute."
The Gateway area has long been a priority for city officials. And during the 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 was initially discussed before the initial SDS lawsuits were filed in 2009, and then when the SDS dispute began, the city was unable to get permits to complete the project, Campbell said.
"Obviously we're pleased it's finally getting to move forward," he said.