Work could begin as soon as this summer on two projects aimed at easing east-west travel between Forsyth and Gwinnett counties.
The much-anticipated improvements along bustling Hwy. 20 corridor were announced Wednesday by the state Department of Transportation.
Teri Pope, department spokeswoman, said the Chattahoochee River divides the improvements evenly, with half of the road widening set for east Forsyth and the other half occurring in western Gwinnett.
The first project will covert nearly 1.1 miles of the route to a four-lane divided highway from Ruth Lane in Forsyth to east of Riverside Road in Gwinnett.
It also includes construction of two parallel bridges over the Chattahoochee, which serves as the county line.
The bridge and widening project will be handled by C.W. Matthews Contracting at an estimated cost of more than $10.2 million. The completion date is May 31, 2016.
The other project — widening about 4 miles of Hwy. 20, from the river to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard — will happen exclusively in Gwinnett. The estimated construction cost of that project is $36.2 million.
Pope said Gwinnett purchased the necessary right of way to fast-track the project and “hired a consultant to do it faster than we did.”
“They let it for bid, but we’re still supervising construction,” she said.
DOT Board Member Rudy Bowen, who represents the 7th Congressional District, where the projects fall, hailed the announcement as “great news for our community.”
“Gwinnett County is reviewing bids now and is expected to award the widening of [its part] to a contractor in May,” Bowen said. “Construction will likely begin on both projects late summer or early fall.”
Pope noted the projects are part of the DOT’s RoadWorks 2013 construction program.
“Dozens of important roadway improvement projects are ongoing throughout the state as we work to deliver projects on time and on budget while keeping our transportation network the nation’s finest,” she said.
“Pardon the necessary inconvenience and please drive cautiously and safely at all times, especially in work zones.”