LAWRENCEVILLE -- In many cases, the higher the level of government, the longer it will take to get a project done.
This time, the state is looking to Gwinnett to help move its "quick fix" projects even quicker.
This week commissioners approved a measure allowing the county to apply for $600,000 in state funding, so the county could complete some small congestion relief projects on state routes.
"We're grateful that the state is allowing us to move these projects ahead for them. This arrangement will provide congestion relief to Gwinnett drivers much sooner than could otherwise be accomplished," Transportation Director Kim Conroy said.
The projects mostly entail extending turn lanes to help drivers get through intersections easier. That includes extending left turn lanes on Buford Highway southbound at South Lee Street in Buford, on Scenic Highway northbound at Jackson Street in Lawrenceville, on Grayson Highway northbound at Webb Gin House Road in Lawrenceville, on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road northbound at Satellite Boulevard and on Beaver Ruin Road eastbound on the west side of the Interstate 85 interchange. Another project would install a new left turn lane on Buford Highway southbound at South Scales Road.
Georgia DOT Deputy Commissioner Todd Long described the projects as "low-hanging fruit."
"They are simple, low cost projects that will greatly improve traffic flow and reduce congestion," he said.
"This is another good example of the state and county working together to get things done," Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said. "We expect to have all these projects completed by the end of the year."
Gwinnett's transportation department has a history of focusing on quick fixes to move traffic.
Conroy said the tradition dates beack to 1988, when former Director George Black formed a small team, known as the "Hot Squad" that could find projects that would require minimal plans and utility work, no new land and a small time frame.
While the county has phased out its road construction unit over the years, instead relying on contracts for big jobs, much of the heavy equipment has been replaced with smaller pieces more suitable to the "quick fix" work, Conroy said
"In the last 25 years, we have constructed hundreds of projects and spent several million dollars, often on a combination of in-house forces and our annual demand contractors," Conroy said.
Recently, the county's crew has added right turn lanes at Fence Road and Ga. Highway 316 and Harbins Road and Ga. 316, and intersection improvement is in the works at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and McGinnis Ferry Road, while a new traffic signal is being added at Ga. Highway 124 and Jim Moore Road.