Masters found few traffic, crowd problems



Travelers to the 2013 Masters Tournament were still packing their suitcases Monday but local officials are already reviewing the week and thinking about plans for next year.

Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said there are plans to meet in upcoming months to discuss next year’s plan while this year is still fresh in their minds.

There will always be a few tweaks to the plan, but for the most part, Cassell said, the main traffic plan proved successful again.

“It’s almost scary how smooth everything went,” he said Monday.

Typically the Monday the week of Masters causes more trouble for traffic engineers and deputies but this year was trouble-free.

“We were done by 9:45 (a.m.),” Cassell said. “That’s about 45 minutes earlier than normal. We’re getting a lot better.”

Richmond County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton said the department was also pleased with the week’s outcome.

“It was the kind of Masters we love,” Clayton said.

The week ended with six arrests -- a number lower than seen in the past.

“It’s a really good week when you only have half a dozen arrests,” Clayton said.

The arrests included the arrest of a preacher who has returned for several years to grounds yelling out at patrons based on his religious beliefs, four for “inconsiderate” actions, and one who was drunk and had active arrest warrants.

Clayton said the four inconsiderate arrests came after several people stood or parked in an areas that blocked traffic flow and refused to move.

No arrests were made for scalping.

Clayton said scalpers were warned Monday and Tuesday and planned to start arrested violators on Wednesday, but violations didn’t arise. He credits signage and media coverage to the drop in scalping arrests.

Even traffic accidents were minimal.

“According to others who have working every year, they said it’s probably the most tranquil Masters we’ve had,” Clayton said.

Visitors filled Augusta Regional Airport throughout the day Monday.

Spokeswoman Lauren Smith said some flights were delayed in the morning and early afternoon, but most travelers were in good spirits as they hit the skies.

“We’re still extremely busy,” Smith said. “ We believe it’s going to be about the same numbers as last year if not more.”

Augusta Regional is waiting on a final report from the airlines on flight occupancy numbers.

Staff Writer Meg Mirshak contributed to this report.




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