Motorists who have to travel on Washington Road this year during Masters Week will find no surprises, traffic engineers said Wednesday.
Each year, the plan to deal with the influx of traffic surrounding Augusta National Golf Club differs slightly to adjust to problems that engineers noticed the previous year. Last year, however, engineers said no significant problems arose.
The Interstate 20 eastbound on-ramp to Washington Road will close at 7:30 each morning and will remain closed until traffic clears, usually between 9 and 9:30 a.m. During the closure, all interstate traffic will be directed to the River Watch Parkway exit, where Masters traffic can choose to take Alexander Drive or downtown to the course, said Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell.
Signs are already being put up in popular travel zones to alert drivers to routes or changing conditions.
Engineers again plan to re-strip the center turn lane of Alexander Drive so travelers to the course will be forced to go straight onto Stanley Drive instead of turning left onto Washington Road.
As in previous years, Berckmans Road will turn into one-way traffic starting at 4 p.m. and continuing until traffic clears. About 2,000 passes have been sent to residents who live along the road to enable them to access their homes during one-way-traffic hours.
Cassell said two Georgia Department of Transportation Highway Emergency Response Operators will be in town for the week to assist with traffic issues. The fluorescent-yellow DOT HERO trucks are equipped with digital message boards and carry water, gas, antifreeze and starter fluid and can pull an 80,000-pound vehicle.
About 60 Richmond County deputies have been scheduled to direct pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Georgia State Patrol troopers will be in the area to assist.
Cassell said pedestrian safety is one of the largest problems the department faces each year because of the number of pedestrians and the narrow sidewalks near the course. Although there has not been a pedestrian-related accident in several years, pedestrians are advised to use extreme caution in the area.