New I-85 interchange takes another step forward in Gwinnett

8:20 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 Local
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The new I-85 interchange that’s long been proposed for a busy Gwinnett County corridor took another step forward this week. 

On Tuesday, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved a nearly $3.2 million contract that will cover the cost of designing the new interchange at I-85 and McGinnis Ferry Road near Suwanee. The Federal Highway Administration approved the addition of the new interchange, which officials hope will help ease traffic on nearby Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, earlier this year.

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“This is a great need,” Gwinnett Department of Transportation director Alan Chapman said. “... There’s also a planned interchange at McGinnis Ferry and Ga. 400 so it really provides that interconnection between Gwinnett and north Fulton and Forsyth [counties]. And we only expect the need to access 85 to grow.”

Chapman said the design contract will be paid for local sales tax dollars but officials hope to ultimately receive a grant to cover about 80 percent of the cost.

The Georgia DOT will be responsible for the roughly $13 million that the interchange’s construction will cost. Chapman said state transportation officials currently have that funding slated to arrive in July 2021.

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“We do hope to have the engineering and right of way [acquisition] completed in advance of that so that we could possibly ask them to move that funding forward,” he said. 

Chapman estimated that the project would likely take 18 to 24 months to complete once construction starts.

Atkins North America, Inc., was the recipient of the design contract awarded Tuesday.

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