Gwinnett County will partner with the Georgia Department of Transportation to study how to reduce congestion and improve safety in the busy Interstate 85 corridor.
Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners agreed this week to put $5 million into the four-year study. GDOT will match the funds.
The study’s necessitated by increased volume on the busy stretch of interstate, no matter what time of day.
“The traffic split between the northbound and southbound has become more equal, so even in the a.m. and p.m. peaks you have significant congestion in both directions,” said Alan Chapman, Gwinnett’s transportation director.
Chapman said a number of things could help relieve some of that traffic: more general purpose lanes and dedicated lanes for truck traffic and express buses.
Gwinnett’s working on a separate transit plan that explores bus and rail options.
Chapman says those could also help the I-85 corridor but that mass transit projects would need separate approval from county lawmakers and voters.
When it comes to traffic, Gwinnett’s a victim of its own success. The county used to be comprised more of bedroom communities, full of commuters headed into Atlanta for work.
Chapman said that’s changed.
“The travel patterns have really changed over the years,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people coming into Gwinnett to work and a lot of people leaving Gwinnett to work. And then people who both live and work in Gwinnett.”
The study will focus on what Chapman calls the busiest section of the corridor: between I-285 and SR 316. It will also look at potential improvements further north to I-985.
He says the portion of the corridor within DeKalb County, just north of the Perimeter, will be included, but that part of the study will be funded by state monies.