Fence at Duncan Creek Park Nears Completion
The new barrier is designed to direct pedestrian traffic to crossing at Pine Road.
Construction of a new fence at Duncan Creek Park is currently underway. The 1,650-foot fence should be finished by mid-January.
The 6-foot-high metal fence will separate the park from Braselton Highway. The barrier is designed to prevent users of the park from crossing the busy highway at points other than the designated crosswalk at Pine Road.
Completion of the project comes more than three months after 13-year-old Dakota Wilson of Auburn was killed on Braselton Highway near the park.
Dave Cich, whose son was friends with Wilson, said the teen was walking alongside the busy highway when he stumbled into traffic. The Sept. 17 accident occurred on a stretch of the five-lane highway next to Duncan Creek Park's 20,000-square-foot skate complex.
Wilson was struck by a Chevrolet Suburban driven by 23-year-old Kevin Sanders of Cumming.
"There was no time for the driver to react," Cich said.
No charges were filed against Sanders.
Since the Dacula park opened in May 2008, visitors to the skate park have frequently crossed Braselton Highway to patronize a convenience store at the corner of the heavily traveled roadway and Jim Moore Road. The park entrance - and designated pedestrian crosswalk - is located one block north at Pine Road.
"It certainly was a very unfortunate accident that occurred," Hoskins said. "As a result of that, our staff was asked to look at different options, including having discussions with the Georgia Department of Transportation as well as the Gwinnett Department of Transportation."
Hoskins said officials considered options including a traffic signal or a new crosswalk.
"The issue is that it's five lanes of traffic," Hoskins said, referring to the intersection where Wilson was killed. "It's just obviously not a safe place to walk."
After reviewing the different options, the choice that made the most sense financially and practically for the county, Hoskins said, was to put up the $78,000 ornamental steel fence.
"It wasn't feasible at this point to even consider a crosswalk there, so this will redirect pedestrians to that safe pedestrian crosswalk at the park entrance and Pine Road," Hoskins said.
Cich, who believes the park entrance and traffic light should be at the intersection of Braselton Highway and Jim Moore Road, isn't satisfied with that decision. He said he contacted officials even before the accident to request a traffic light and went back for help again afterward.
"Honestly, I don't think it's the appropriate solution," Cich said. "I think they made a mistake with the original design of the park."