The director of a local child care center said an upcoming road closure will affect her business, one way or another.
“It will either help us or hurt us,” said Stephanie Berry, director of Discovery Point on Sanders Road.
Sanders will serve as one of the detours while work to widen Buford Dam Road will close the stretch between Sanders and Market Place Boulevard for about four months.
Other detours during the closure, which is set to begin March 7, include Mary Alice Park Road and Hwys. 9 and 20.
During a meeting Tuesday, the Cumming City Council heard a report on the overall Buford Dam Road widening project.
“It’s already busy there as it is,” said Steve Bennett, assistant city manager. “With the closure, there’ll be a lot more traffic on roads that don’t typically have that much traffic.”
As a safety precaution, the mayor and council voted Tuesday to ban any “gatherings or pedestrian movements” such as parades or 5 and 10Ks during the closure. The moratorium includes all the detour roads.
Bennett said the closure is necessary to replace a culvert near where Buford Dam Road crosses Market Place.
“There’s a stream that runs under Buford Dam, to the east of Market Place,” Bennett said. “With the widening, [crews] will have to tear all that out and put in a bigger pipe. There’s no way to do that without closing the road.”
He said the total project includes widening parts of Buford Dam Road to up to four lanes and installing sidewalks on both sides.
The projected cost is about $3.8 million, with about $1.8 coming from the state, he said.
Bennett said construction on the other side of Buford Dam Road, from Market Place to Hwy. 9, will be going on during that same time. It won’t, however, require a shutdown.
“We’ll have one-lane traffic and flagmen leading cars, those types of things, but that part of the road won’t ever be completely closed,” he said.
The total project is slated to be finished by the end of September.
In some ways, Berry said, serving as a detour could help Discovery Point because it could give the facility more exposure.
“It might be nice because a lot of people don’t even know we’re here,” she said.
On the other hand, the project could cause some headaches.
“The parents will probably have to come a little earlier,” she said, noting staff likely will send home notices about the closure. “The parents who live in the city of Cumming, more out that way, it’ll probably affect them more than anyone.”
Berry said the closure will also likely impact some of the center’s bus routes, particularly with Cumming Elementary School.