Augusta traffic engineers have completed a Masters Tournament traffic plan that they hope will alleviate some of the headaches seen in previous years.
Generally, the plan is the same as last year with a few minor changes.
One of the changes is the closure of the eastbound Interstate 20 ramp at Washington Road from 7:30 to 10 a.m. every day.
Traffic engineer Steve Cassell said the new plan will allow engineers to avoid problems instead of reacting to them later.
“The hope is to relieve Washington Road so that we can keep traffic flowing in both directions,” he said. “We try to encourage as many people to use River Watch Parkway as possible. It will actually get you there faster.”
The change is minor compared with last year’s announcement that Berckmans Road would be one-way traffic every afternoon.
The shift “changed things tremendously,” Cassell said. After the tournament, he said, he was contacted by numerous people complimenting the change.
Berckmans Road will be one-way every day starting at 3:30 p.m., with the option to remain one-way until 9 p.m.
This week, the 300 residents who live along Berckmans Road will receive about 2,500 resident passes.
One portion of the plan that is still a concern is the use of newly expanded Alexander Drive.
Though traffic will be allowed on the road, Cassell said it will not be encouraged and there will be no signs pointing visitors to the road.
“We’re concerned that it could back up onto I-20 if it’s not monitored carefully,” he said. “It’s going to be on a short leash.”
If it becomes an issue, the road will be closed to all through traffic.
This year will also be the first year of adaptive traffic signals.
Last year was the first time engineers had the use of traffic cameras installed in problem areas. Through the cameras, engineers were able to simultaneously watch traffic on a screen instead of the old method of having the Georgia State Patrol radio in problems from a helicopter.
Cassell said the adaptive signals will be yet another technological advance to help alleviate congestion, especially on Washington Road, which he estimates sees 50,000 vehicles a day during Masters Week.
The cameras will be available for viewing online and will be broadcast on television. The channel and Web site are still being discussed and will be announced at a later date.