By Gerhard Schneibel and Amy Wenk

The bottleneck on Hammond Drive between Roswell and Barfield roads is in part a result of the 27,000 cars that pass through the intersection of Hammond and Glenridge drives each day, but some residents at a public forum April 13 at City Hall blamed the congestion on I-285’s interchange with Roswell Road.

About 70 people attended the meeting, which addressed the planned Hammond Drive widening.

Thaea Lloyd, who lives in the Glenridge-Hammond Neighborhood, said the Roswell Road/I-285 interchange is the culprit behind the congestion.

“I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem,” she said. “Instead of two lanes backed up on Hammond, we’ll have four lanes backed up because the problem has not been addressed.”

Public Works Director Angelia Parham said any city plan to widen the Roswell Road bridge over I-285 is being “held hostage” by the Georgia Department of Transportation’s interstate plans. GDOT’s Revive285 Top End project might not be complete until 2025.

Marsha Reynolds, also of the Glenridge-Hammond Neighborhood, said the widening will be needed more than ever once Hammond Park is renovated.

“We’re turning Hammond Park into Hammond athletic center, and it’s going to cause more traffic,” including school buses, she said.

There are 28 houses north of Hammond Drive and 30 houses south of it in two neighborhoods, Glenridge Forest and Hammond Hills, which share a combined association.

Deputy Public Works Director Jon Drysdale said the neighborhoods are “very, very active,” and “they want to be protected.”

Suggestions for the widening project included a linear park similar to the one being built on Abernathy Road, noise buffers, and bicycle paths leading to Hammond Park or nearby sidewalks built by the Perimeter Community Improvement District.

Transportation planner Garrin Coleman said there is “no preconceived notion of what the corridor is going to look like.”

Transportation planner Mark Moore said the city is still gathering public comment before deciding on design alternatives and applying for federal funding to match the city’s eventual expense. A “no-build” option is “one of the things we’ll compare as we go along,” he said.

The earliest that construction could begin would be in three to five years.

Dist. 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio said, “We have to gather information before … the decision can be made.”

He said some houses along Hammond Drive are in “pretty deplorable shape,” and people often walk dangerously close to the road.

“Definitely something needs to be done on Hammond Drive,” DeJulio said. “The question is what.”