City settles on new Masters traffic plan

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City traffic officials said Wednesday they have settled on the right system for moving masses of fans to and from the world's most prestigious golf tournament.

At a meeting in the Augusta Commission chambers, they unveiled their latest effort to keep traffic flowing during the 2011 Masters.

"We're no longer in a training exercise," Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell told a group of reporters and officials from the Augusta National Golf Club. "A lot of these routes have been used for the last three years."

When new parking lots across Berckmans Road opened three years ago, traffic officials were tasked with creating an entirely new  plan.

Each year since, they have shifted lanes and altered traffic flows to get the process just right.

This year, all of the major access routes from Interstate 20 will remain the same. Patrons can exit at Wheeler Road, Bobby Jones Expressway, Washington Road, Riverwatch Parkway and Martintown Road .

They will enter the lots through the Publix grocery road or Stanley Drive if coming from Washington Road, or into Heath Drive or Cherry Lane if traveling north from Berckmans Road.

Cassell said all patrons have been mailed a map that lists the major access routes.

"Follow your map," Cassell said. "Don't turn on your GPS. The GPS may take you to a place where we won't let you in."

As announced earlier this month, the biggest difference this year will be on Berckmans Road, which officials plan to turn  into a one way street from 4 to 9 p.m. April 4-10.

Under the new plan, patrons driving southbound on Berckmans Road will be shifted into the normally northbound lane just south of Cherry Lane. They will be required to stay in that lane through the intersection at Ingleside Drive and on to Wheeler Road or Walton Way.

Meanwhile, traffic exiting the parking lots at Heath Drive must turn right onto Berckmans Road and continue southbound to the intersection with Ingleside Drive. Deputies will force them to turn right onto Ingleside toward Boy Scout Road.

Cassell also noted that Gate 10 off Berckmans Road, the last of the parking lots actually on the course itself, will not be open to the public this year. Anyone traveling north on Berckmans Road to get into the tournament will be forced to turn onto either Heath Drive or Cherry Lane.

Masters Cameras Go Live:

Patrons will soon be able to check the status of the Masters traffic before leaving for the tournament. A new Web site to go live on Friday will provide the public with video feeds, each updated every five seconds, of major roads around Augusta - including Washington Road's intersection with Berckmans Road, Stanly Drive, Eisenhower Drive, Boy Scout Road and both sides of Interstate 20. It also has feeds for Riverwatch Parkway, 15th Street and others.

View the city's traffic plan at www.augustaga.gov


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