Georgia Department of Transportation will shut down the Interstate 85 northbound rest area just south of Suwanee (Exit 111) in Gwinnett County on Monday, Oct. 31.
“DOT conducted a study of rest areas along I-85 in Northeast Georgia and have determined the wisest decision is to permanently close the northbound rest area at Suwanee,” Georgia DOT District Engineer Russell McMurry told www.AccessNorthGa.com.
“There are many reasons to close the rest area, now including safety issues for motorists,” McMurry says. “This rest area was opened in 1972 when the area was completely rural. As the area has grown, merging traffic exiting the rest area has become a challenge. This section of I-85 drops a lane just north of the merge from the rest area to I-85, and motorists who are exiting the rest area and want to merge onto I-985 have to cross all of I-85 within about one mile to be able to merge onto I-985. The upcoming project to reconstruct the I-85 and I-985 interchange will require the closing of that rest area. There will be ramps where the rest area sits now. Add the criminal activity at the rest area, and the wisest decision for the motorists of Georgia is to close the facility.”
The private sector has provided multiple options in the area for motorists to stop to rest, refuel, eat and use the restroom. There are seven truck stops along I-85 in Northeast Georgia for truckers to utilize, and there are other options for personal vehicles to stop at every interchange along I-85. The next northbound rest area is in Franklin County 48 miles from the closing location.
“Our maintenance forces will use guardrail to close off the entrances, and demolition of the building will begin later this fall,” McMurry says. “The last day for operation of this rest area is Sunday, October 30th. We are also working with the trucking industry to ensure they know about this change before it occurs, because they are the primary user of this facility.” The existing southbound rest area along I-85 just south of State Route 20 will continue to operate.
“The closing will save over $300,000 per year in security costs, utility costs and repair costs,” McMurry says.