Jose Salgado walks home from work on a dirt path along Club Drive just before Pleasant Hill Road in Lawrenceville Tuesday. On Tuesday commissioners approved projects which will provide paved sidewalks along Club Drive within the next several months. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
Two busy — and dangerous — pedestrian pathways will see improvements soon, with projects approved by commissioners Tuesday.
Sidewalks will come to a stretch of Club Drive near a Lawrenceville-area park where a girl died crossing the street in 2011, while an often-walked path along Buford Highway will help connect Gwinnettians to transit service outside Norcross.
In both locations, officials had worked to add sidewalks to corridors for years and were able to get grants to help fill in the last gaps.
“Given the high number of residential developments surrounding the area, these new sidewalks along Club Drive will be a benefit to the many people that walk to the stores, restaurants and entertainment venues throughout greater Gwinnett Place,” said Joe Allen, of the nearby Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District.
While county crews added sidewalks not long after the 2011 hit and run death in front of the park, the project approved Tuesday is the final stretch of sidewalks to run the length of the road to Pleasant Hill Road.
The $308,392.83 contract with Johnson Landscape — 80 percent of which is funded by a Transportation Enhancement grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation — includes a pedestrian bridge along one portion of the right-of-way where the grade would be too steep for a sidewalk.
At the same time as the construction, which is expected to conclude by the summer, a county crew plans to install a rapidly flashing pedestrian beacon and a crosswalk in front of the park, so that pedestrians will not have to walk to an intersection with a crosswalk to cross over the road, Gwinnett Transportation Director Kim Conroy said.
Along Buford Highway, a $709,122.60 contract with Summit Construction will add sidewalks from Amwiler Road to Jimmy Carter Boulevard, extending work performed by the Gwinnett Village CID in 2011 to add sidewalks from Amwiler to the county line, where a MARTA station draws a lot of foot traffic.
“The Buford Highway corridor has one of the highest concentrations of pedestrian traffic in our area,” said Chuck Warbington, executive director for the Gwinnett Village CID.
The project also includes work on the curb and gutter and crosswalks at four intersections along the path, which connects to seven popular Gwinnett Transit stops.
“It’s a real essential project for pedestrian safety and connectivity,” Warbington said, adding that the stretch will fill in a key gap in sidewalks by the end of the summer.
“These new sidewalks will be a great enhancement to the Buford Highway corridor, along with other improvements that will help pedestrians get around safely and continue to connect our communities,” Commissioner Lynette Howard said of the project, funded 80 percent with state funds and the remainder with some of the CID’s portion of 2009 sales tax funding.