Final touches going on Clayton's construction projects

By Justin Boron

Construction has all but sewn up several of the Clayton County developments that will likely transform traffic, education, and quality of life in certain areas of the county.

Wal-Mart will host a grand opening Wednesday. The Lovejoy library is open. And the national archives building in Morrow is set to be dedicated this summer.

The series of projects has culminated in the past month as new leaders entered office.

The Wal-Mart project has pitted the community's needs against a potentially serious traffic dilemma if local and state roadway enhancements do not alleviate the congestion of cars coming north and south to the new shopping center in Lovejoy.

Its opening has created 420 new jobs and a hub for shopping in the south side of the county.

But impact of traffic has been a looming question during its construction.

Lovejoy Mayor Joe Murphy has worked closely with developers on the project and is welcoming the store with open arms.

He said he doesn't anticipate too much extra strain on the roads surrounding the shopping center.

"I feel like Tara Boulevard is in good shape," he said. "We have our bottlenecks . . . but most of the time it's moving."

The county has offered a driveway on U.S. Highway 19/41 and a revamped intersection at Lovejoy Road as solutions to the onslaught of cars the shopping center is expected to draw.

The intersection already averages about 65,000 cars per day.

The Lovejoy library was dedicated the C. Crandle Bray Lovejoy Branch of the county library system.

Other than a punch list of small items all construction has finished, said Flora Walker Hazelton, the assistant director for branch services.

The facility offers 16 public computers and is the only library in the county with a functional fireplace, she said.

"It's a pretty cozy corner," Hazelton said.

The library currently holds 20,000 books, but Hazelton said by next year it should double. Its total capacity is 60,000 books, she said.

Also builders are putting the final touches on The National Archives and Records Administration's 115,000 square-foot structure. It will hold documents for federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the Census Bureau that pertain to the southeast region.

While construction is coming to a close in some areas, it is just beginning for others.

A new shopping center is going up on Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro to replace an abandoned gas station near Longhorn Steakhouse.

The county planning and zoning department said the complex will feature a Walgreens drug store.