The State Transportation Board gave the go-ahead Thursday to a series of improvements along Georgia 316 between Lawrenceville and Athens to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety along the heavily traveled corridor.
Board members approved a joint resolution with the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) to move forward on the first of three “bundles” of projects, a $100 million plan to build grade-separated interchanges at Georgia 316’s intersections with Bethlehem and Barber Creek roads in Barrow County.
The Georgia Department of Transportation will issue a request for proposals from interested contractors in July, Andrew Hoenig, construction program manager for the DOT’s Office of Alternative Delivery, told members of the board’s Program Delivery Committee on Wednesday.
The DOT will announce the apparent winner of the bidding in December and return to the board early next year for a notice to proceed with the work, Hoenig said. He said construction will start during the fall of next year,
“We’re looking at trying to grade separate some of the signalized intersections along the corridor,” he said. “You have a lot of conflicting movements now, with turns to the side roads, and you have a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic.”
Hoenig said a second bundle of projects in Oconee County will build grade-separated intersections at the 316 intersections with Jimmy Daniel Road and the Oconee Connector. The contract for $150 million of planned improvements is due to be let this fall, with the procurement process to begin early next year.
The third bundle, with a price tag of just less than $100 million, will include a grade-separated interchange at Georgia 316 and Kilcrease Road in Barrow County and construction of an overpass over 316 at Carl-Bethlehem Road. Letting bids for those projects won’t occur until the last quarter of next year.
Under the joint resolution the transportation board approved Thursday, the DOT will handle procuring the contractors and managing the projects. SRTA will sign the agreement with the contractor chosen for the first bundle of projects and – because it has the ability to fund projects over multiple years – SRTA will pay for the work.
“All of this is great new for all of us,” said board member Jamie Boswell, chairman of the board’s Program Delivery Committee and the board’s representative for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. “If you get on 316, it’s wonderful.”