Sandy Springs proposes spending $38.5 million to complete a portion of the Hammond Drive widening project, using revenue from a proposed transportation sales tax extension that voters would need to approve on Nov. 8.
The widening project is one of nine projects on the first tier of a proposed Transportation Local Option Sales Tax II (TSPLOST II) presented to the City Council at its April 20 meeting.
Residents will get a chance to learn more about the transportation projects in two virtual sessions on April 26. To register for the 11:30 a.m. session, click here. To register for the 6 p.m. meeting, click here. Following the meetings, the presentation and proposed projects will be posted online at spr.gs/TSPLOST2021 for public comment until May 9.
The current five-year TSPLOST I is set to expire in March 2022. Without a renewal, the city would have to forgo or find other money for future projects or finishing some major ones on the current TSPLOST list, including widening part of Hammond Drive.
Sandy Springs would receive $96.5 million in TSPLOST II revenue, according to Fulton County projections, said Allen Johnson, the city’s TSPLOST program manager. The nine projects in Tier One, which is set at 85% of projected revenue, or $82.2 million.
The biggest project on the list was the $38.5 million projected for the Hammond Drive widening project. This adds on to the $16 million designated for design and right-of-way acquisition for the project in TSPLOST I.
“The concept that’s been developed was from Roswell Road to Barfield, but this is from Boylston to Glenridge, basically the two-lane section. We’ll make it four lanes. This is also the area where we’ve done the pre-acquisition of right of way,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the full cost to complete the project was $55 million. He said the challenge was getting the right of way from commercial property and the significant work needed to tie in the existing four-lane sections near Roswell Road and at the opposite end of the project from Barfield to Glenridge.
In addition to the Hammond Drive project, the intersection at Boylston Drive and Hammond Road was included as a Tier One project. The project cost was set at just under $3 million and it will realign the intersection and construct a side path, which is a multi-use path beside the roadway. Legislation prevents cities from using TSPLOST funds for recreational trails but does allow multi-use paths for pedestrians and bicyclists alongside roadways for alternative transportation.
The city proposed $12.1 million for sidewalk construction, the second largest project in Tier One.
Almost $9.7 million was designated for the Roswell Road North Boulevard project. Johnson said this would make improvements from Dunwoody Place north to the Chattahoochee River. It would include streetscapes, side paths, a median in Roswell Road and some intersection improvements.
Councilmember Andy Bauman said while he generally supports TSPLOST, he had difficulties in putting the boulevard project in Tier One.
“It seems to me a piece of a plan, but it’s piecemeal and I’m not necessarily convinced it’s ready. When we have so many projects that can truly make a difference, a real difference, in real people’s lives all over the city, I’m just not ready,” he said.
Councilmember John Paulson disagreed with Bauman on the Roswell Road North Boulevard project’s placement in TSPLOST II. He said it’s part of the improvement of the North End. One reason he felt it should stay in Tier One is the pedestrian bridge being built by Roswell and Sandy Springs across the Chattahoochee River. The boulevard project would be a continuation of that work. He said transforming this stretch of Roswell Road into a boulevard look would be better for the community.
“So I disagree with you, Councilman. I think that this is a good project,” Paulson said. “And after eight years of trying to improve things on the North End, this is one of those signature projects that shows we’re actually doing something.”
The city allocated $6.2 million for enhancements to new bridges to be built at Roberts Drive, Pitts Road and Spalding Drive as part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Managed Lanes project on Ga. 400. Enhancements include wider pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes, turn lanes and decorative items such as rails and pedestrian lighting.
Another intersection improvement project on Tier One of the project list was the $3.3 million in funding for Johnson Ferry Road at Peachtree Dunwoody Road.
“This is an intersection improvement in the hospital area. If you’ve ever been through that intersection, it’s definitely a challenge,” Johnson said.
The city plans to leverage $4.4 million designated for an extension of the PATH400 multiuse path through that area for additional funds.
“This is the local match for federal funding. We’ve gotten some federal funding we’re still continuing to request more federal funding,” he said. “Within the city of Sandy Springs, it’s a $20 million project, so it’s a huge project.”
The Glenridge Drive from Hammond to Wellington Trace project, with $2.75 million allocated in Tier One, is a side path that goes from Hammond and ties into a side path that’s being built under I-285 as part of the I-285/Ga. 400 project. It will tie into a side path built as part of TSPLOST I on Glenridge to Johnson Ferry.
“So this will get basically a side path all the way from Hammond to Johnson Ferry,” Johnson said.
Approximately $2.4 million would fund an intelligent transportation system program, a fiber optics system to bring redundancy and reliability to traffic signals, closed circuit TV and other systems within the city, adding a connection to a fire station.