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Gwinnett SPLOST road allocations begin

LAWRENCEVILLE — A month after Gwinnett residents approved an extension of the one-percent special purpose local option sales tax, a citizens board got to work allocating the transportation funds it will bring.

Prior to the vote, the Gwinnett Citizens Project Selection Committee divided the expected $275 million the tax is expected to bring in for transportation over three years between categories. Now, the members are delving into specific projects.

Tackling the smallest categories first, the board approved a process to determine which roads are repaved with the $30 million in funding set aside for resurfacing. Allocations for unpaved roads and speed humps were left without earmarks, as the county mostly tackles those issues as citizens request them.

The group decided to earmark up to $300,000 of $1.3 million in transportation planning funding for projects with the local Community Improvement Districts.

The citizens group also began discussions over bridge replacements, with county officials recommending upgrades for Bailey Road, Brooks Road, Harbins Road (in Dacula), New Hope Road and Pinehurst Road.

Transportation Director Kim Conroy said the bridges are OK, according to current sufficiency ratings, but they are approaching the end of their lives.

Other bridges on Harbins Road (in Lilburn), Whitehead Road and Dacula Road were recommended as projects due to alignment and safety issues

The $10 million Dacula Road project over a CSX railroad so close to U.S. Highway 29 has caused congestion problems in the community for years, Conroy said, adding that it was considered for a regional sales tax, which failed last year. A portion of the funding could come from the bridge category with more under consideration under an intersection category, he said.

A third of the $30 million for the bridge category is also being considered for the replacement of culverts, which have the potential to destroy roads if they fail.

The vote on the bridge category will be held at an upcoming meeting.

The committee plans to complete a proposed project list for the sales tax money for commissioners to consider prior to April 1, the date the new tax program will begin.