AUGUST 31, 2011 – The long-awaited Hammond ramps, located within the city limits of Sandy Springs, will open to the public September 2. The ramps will offer access for the first time to Georgia 400 at Hammond Drive.
“By adding this connection between Georgia 400 and Hammond Drive, these new ramps into Sandy Springs will help relieve congestion and enhance access to our community,” said Eva Galambos, mayor of the City of Sandy Springs. “I congratulate Georgia Department of Transportation and the contractor for getting this job done on time.”
“This project will ease traffic and improve safety in one of the most congested areas of Metro Atlanta,” said Yvonne Williams, president and chief executive officer of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs). “By providing a new gateway into and out of the market, it also will offer a new opportunity for quality development and jobs in this major corridor.”
The Hammond project had been planned for 15 years, but state collaboration with the PCIDs jump-started the project, which was the only one let by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in the last quarter of 2008.
The ramps will provide a north entrance and a south exit along Georgia 400, offering a new gateway to Metro Atlanta’s largest office district. They are part of the nearly $18 million Hammond Half-Diamond Interchange project that also includes a new, wider Hammond Drive bridge across Georgia 400.
The interchange was developed through a partnership of GDOT, which funded the $12 million cost of the bridge, and the PCIDs, which contributed $5 million for the ramps. The City of Sandy Springs Development Authority financed the PCIDs’ portion of the project, saving the organization $500,000 in interest fees. Sandy Springs also contributed $150,000 for lighting, fencing and other upgrades to the Hammond Bridge.
“The success of this project can be directly attributed to the cooperation between GDOT, the contractor and the PCID,” said GDOT Commissioner Vance Smith. When the public and private sectors work together, we can accomplish great things, and I believe this interchange is a perfect example of that. It is amazing to me how efficiently and effectively we can get these projects done if we just pool our resources and work together,” Smith said.
The opening of the ramps will complete nearly two years of construction on the Hammond Half-Diamond Interchange. The ramps and replacement of the four-lane Hammond overpass with a nine-lane, higher bridge are designed to meet current and future traffic volumes. GDOT also added an auxiliary lane from the north entrance ramp to the Abernathy Interchange at Georgia 400.
“The Hammond Half-Diamond Project serves as a model showcasing the success of sharing a common goal, creating bold and innovative strategies and bringing all available resources to the table,” said Williams. “This project will be a tremendous asset to the business and residential areas of Perimeter.”
“We are proud of the public-private partnership model that greatly accelerated this infrastructure improvement project and made it possible,” said Fulton Perimeter PCID Chair Chuck Altimari, Vice President of United Parcel Service.
A GDOT study released in April 2008 of the existing and projected volume of trips along the Georgia 400 corridor showed that additional capacity to enter and exit Georgia 400 was urgently needed. At present, the Abernathy Road interchange is the only access point on Georgia 400 for both local and regional traffic into and out of the Perimeter Center area in Fulton and DeKalb Counties.
The City of Sandy Springs, with a 2010 population of 93,853, is the sixth-largest city in the state and the second-largest city in Metro Atlanta.
With more than 100,000 workers, the Perimeter Center is one of Metro Atlanta’s largest employment districts. Nearly 35,000 more jobs are expected to be added in the next 10 years, according to a recent analysis for the PCIDs by Robert Charles Lesser & Company real estate advisors.