Dirt mounds sit high on what used to be patron parking for the Masters Tournament.
Also visible in the fields next to Berckmans Road are heavy machinery, construction workers and the first resemblance of a road.
But for Augusta Area Project Manager Aaron Kaspriskie, it’s the unseen that he’s most enthused by.
“To be honest, the three tunnels we’re working on are amazing,” he said. “They’re almost complete, and those tunnels really are key to this entire project. We’ve made tremendous strides in their construction – pretty much all we have left is finishing their retaining walls.”
Construction on Berckmans Road began three months ago, and officials confirm everything is on schedule. Kaspriskie credits the steady work pace to favorable weather, as well as the amount of time officials spent formulating a timetable for the $16.7 million project.
Current construction is expected to finish in March, just before Masters Week.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better first three months,” Kaspriskie said. “Everything has gone extremely smooth, and that usually happens when everyone works together with the same goals in mind.”
As for the unseen tunnels, two will be used by pedestrians, while the other is designed for vehicle use.
Above ground, the project is widening Berckmans Road to three lanes to align it with Alexander Drive less than a half mile from its current output on Washington Road.
“I’m very confident that the community will be pleased with the final results,” Kaspriskie said. “Especially with the tunnels. The tunnels – which are an arch structure – will be very aesthetically pleasing.”
Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Kyle Collins also praised the initial three months of construction.
“This project will enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety and improve traffic flow along Washington Road,” Collins said.
Officials are quick to emphasize how the work isn’t backing up traffic on Berckmans Road – at least not terribly.
“There may be an occasional delay, but overall the traffic moves pretty fluid,” Kaspriskie said. “I’ve seen construction sites shut down an entire road, but thankfully that hasn’t been the
Jordan Garnett, who lives at Brookside West apartments, says construction has made it harder to complete simple routines such as grocery shopping.
“It’s definitely harder to get from my apartment to Washington Road right now,” he said. “Traffic got backed up a lot in May and June, but I’ll admit it’s gotten better recently.”
Area resident Clarence Corley agreed that the construction has caused minor delays, but he believes it will be well worth it in the
“I think widening the road is a great idea,” he said. “Especially to help with Masters Week traffic. I can’t wait to see how smooth everything goes this coming year.”
Kaspriskie confirmed that Augusta National Golf Club has ideas for new patron parking, but he did not provide specifics.