Masters Week traffic plan will close eastbound I-20 ramp to Washington Road every morning

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:00 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1:45 AM
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Augusta traffic engineers have completed a Masters Tournament traffic plan that they hope will alleviate some of the headaches seen in previous years.

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The eastbound Interstate 20 ramp at Washington Road will be closed from 7:30 to 10 a.m. every day during Masters Week.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
The eastbound Interstate 20 ramp at Washington Road will be closed from 7:30 to 10 a.m. every day during Masters Week.

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.

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DawgnSC69 03/21/12 - 06:50 am
Why are these people not

Why are these people not allowing the use of the newly routed 4 lane Alexander Drive to take patrons directly to/from the Augusta National from Riverwatch and I-20?

Instead they make them drive all the way down Riverwatch, make a u-turn basically and drive through one of the scariest and run down part of Augusta to get there.

DawgnSC69 03/21/12 - 06:56 am
All they have to do with

All they have to do with Alexander is reverse the lanes. AM, all 4 lanes one-way to the ANGC parking. PM, all 4 lanes one-way to Riverwatch.

Instead these officials want nearly every visitor coming off of I-20 to see one of the worst parts of town. Doesn't make sense IMO.

DawgnSC69 03/21/12 - 07:06 am
I guess they need to put up

I guess they need to put up signs warning the visitors.
I can see it now...

csrareader 03/21/12 - 07:28 am
Ahhhh.... there's nothing

Ahhhh.... there's nothing like the Augusta Traffic Engineering Department to remind us all that the Masters truly is a major sport in a small time town.

Fiat_Lux 03/21/12 - 11:39 am
Can you imagine what the

Can you imagine what the Parkway would be like with all those people coming off I-20 and from downtown trying to turn onto Alexander Drive? The backed up traffic would probably block everything all the way back to Fury's Ferry by 9 am.

At least the current plan keeps the mess mainly confined between the Washington Road to Wheeler Road area of town. I live in West Augusta and had very little problem getting to and from work that week. Of course, I also avoided Washington and Wheeler roads.

bdouglas 03/21/12 - 11:58 am
If traffic were shifted to

If traffic were shifted to one way only on Alexander, imagine living on that one and working in South Carolina! In the morning you can't hop to Riverwatch to catch I-20, but have to get on Washington and find a way to I-20 that *doesn't* involve the east-boud on ramp at Washington and I-20. Then coming home you'd be forced to get ON Washington Rd. to get back to your house. What a nightmare...

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