Four cranes rise over the excavated site where a new interchange from Ga. Highway 316 and Ga. Highway 20 is taking shape in Lawrenceville. The roadbed for Ga. 316 will be rebuilt at a lower grade, and a bridge is being built to carry Ga. 20 traffic over it. (Staff Photos: Camie Young)
LAWRENCEVILLE — The transformation of one of Gwinnett’s biggest bottlenecks will take longer than expected.
After a year and a half of work, July was expected to be about the halfway point in the major overhaul of Ga. Highway 316’s intersections with Ga. Highway 20 and Collins Hill Road. But transportation officials recently approved an extension for contractor G.P.’s Enterprises of Auburn.
“The project is going well,” said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mark McKinnon. “But they’ve got a good bit more to go.”
Instead of completion by the end of 2014, the contractor has until the end of March 2015, due to redesign involving gas lines, officials said.
While drivers have been excited to see the progress of the new bridge, where Collins Hill Road will go over the interstate instead of stopping traffic with a signal, McKinnon showed in a recent tour of the work site that it will still be some time before that section of the project is open.
“The bridge structure is almost complete,” he said, but he showed that approaches on both sides of the bridge are little more than Georgia red clay at the moment. “The next step is installation of ATMS (cameras and cable) then the concrete approach slabs that transition from the roadway to the bridge can be poured at each end of the bridge. The driving surface has to be grooved for traction then sealed and striped.”
Contractors have not revealed when that portion of the work will be complete, but the biggest transformation is set for Ga. Highway 20 less than a mile away.
Because of the close proximity, the two intersections are being converted into one big interchange, with collector-distributor lanes for cars who are exiting Ga. 316.
At Ga. 20, where Lawrenceville traffic often slows to a crawl, crews are excavating the original Ga. 316 roadbed and have begun the process to build a bridge to take Ga. 20 traffic above that, instead of stopping at a traffic light.
Three of the five bents, which are the vertical supports to the structure, are complete, with crews beginning to work on the caps to top the concrete columns, McKinnon said. Once the columns and caps are in place, the crews can set the horizontal bridge beams, then begin to set the deck.
The long process to haul away dirt, as Ga. 316 has been lowered, is complete, he added, saying the contractor will soon begin grading the adjusted roadbed.