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Utilities work underway in major intersection project in Gainesville
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Heavy utility has started on the Queen City/Jesse Jewell Parkway intersection allowing Gainesville to work underground and move utilities. - photo by Scott Rogers

Turn-lane improvements at one of Gainesville’s busiest intersections are going underground.

Utility work still needs to happen before hard construction can start on the project at Jesse Jewell Parkway at Queen City Parkway/John W. Morrow Jr. Parkway.

And that means digging a pit on the Dunkin Donuts side of the intersection and metal plates placed on the Queen City approach to Jesse Jewell, said Katie Strickland, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman, on Friday, Nov. 8.

“This is allowing the city of Gainesville to work underground and relocate utilities,” she said. “Once this stage is done, we should have a better construction start date.”

Utility work shouldn’t involve lane closures, but the actual construction could.

The project will involve adding right-turn lanes and concrete islands at each of the approaches to the intersection.

The John Morrow approach to the intersection has a right-turn lane but not a concrete island that separates motorists turning right from through traffic. 

And Jesse Jewell’s westbound approach to the intersection away from downtown Gainesville has a concrete island that separates motorists turning right from through traffic but not a dedicated right-turn lane.

The DOT is allowing Norcross-based contractor CMES Inc. to have overnight single-lane closures, starting at 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closings would end at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Complete lane closures “are not permitted at any time,” according to DOT paperwork.

The $1.6 million project is set for completion in October 2020.

The intersection could become busier in the months ahead with the construction of a new QuikTrip gas station and convenience store.

QT spokesman Mike Thornbrugh has said the chain hopes to open the store in July 2020. He couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.