Plans move forward for diamond interchange

Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District approved a $330,000 design contract to put the final touches on plans to upgrade the I-85 interchange at Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

The interchange design, called a diverging diamond, would be used as a temporary fix to cut delays at the intersection by as much as half. It would allows vehicles to cross the overpass on the left side, providing a freer flow of traffic by favoring left turns from the overpass onto the interstate.

Similar plans are under way at the Pleasant Hill Road interchange. That effort is being led by Gwinnett Place CID.

The projects are estimated to cost between $2 million and $3 million and could be funded with local SPLOST money, saving the time and expense of most federal and state regulations. Because both Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road are state routes, and I-85 is a federal highway, some portions of the project will have to be coordinated with federal and state authorities.

The Jimmy Carter interchange design should be completed by early June, said Chuck Warbington, executive director for Gwinnett Village CID. After that, it will be up to county, state and federal transportation officials to approve the project.

If approved, the interchanges would become among the first in the United States with the diamond design.

The latest traffic studies put daily traffic at about 55,000 on both roads.