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A barricade sits at the end of Collins Industrial Way in Lawrenceville. Gwinnett transportation officials are planning to extend the road from its current end just north of Collins Hill Road to Buford Drive, also known as State Route 20. Gwinnett commissioners gave their blessings Tuesday for the county to apply for a $1.5 million state grant to help pay for construction costs of the approximately $2 million project.

In the not too distant future, Gwinnett residents will be able to get from the county jail to Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville without having to get on State Route 316.

What’s more, they could go farther, reach Walther Boulevard near where that road meets Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road — again without having to use Ga. 316.

That’s the situation that will come from Gwinnett County’s plans to extend Collins Industrial Way to complete a connection between Collins Hill Road and Buford Drive, also known as State Route 20.

“It’s access for local traffic so it doesn’t have to get on State Route 316, and it ties State Route 20 to Collins Hill and over to Walther Boulevard,” Gwinnett Transportation Director Alan Chapman said.

County commissioners gave Gwinnett’s transportation department permission on Tuesday to apply for a $1.5 million Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant to help pay for construction of the $2 million road extension.

The county would offer up $500,000 in 2009 special purpose location option sales tax funds to complement the grant.

“If we get the grant, I would hope to let a construction contract early next year,” Chapman said.

Chapman said a “stub” portion of Collins Industrial Way extending north of Collins Hill Road was already built as part of the Collins Hill Road at Ga. 316 interchange project a few years ago.

The two-lane extension would pick up where that portion of roadway ends and take it north to Buford Drive running parallel to Ga. 316.

It would reach Buford Drive at approximately the same spot where Lendon Lane currently meets Ga. 20.

“It would end up lining up across (Buford Drive) from Reynolds Road, right there at the QT at the traffic signal,” Chapman said.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta. I eventually wandered away from home and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I first tried my hand at majoring in film for a couple of years. And then political sc