With this year’s Masters traffic plan, Richmond County deputies were able to get the majority of the morning rush hour over by 10 a.m. – something that’s “never been done before.”
“I couldn’t have been happier with the way things went,” Augusta Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said.
In general, the plan was the same as in 2011. The one uncertain addition was Alexander Drive. Initially, engineers shied away from using the newly expanded road at all. Cassell said it would be new not only for guests but also for the deputies managing the streets.
“I was afraid to overload (the officers) off the bat. I wanted them to get more in sync with what they were doing before we started encouraging more traffic,” he said.
Several hours into Monday, however, Cassell pushed more traffic onto Alexander Drive. By Tuesday, things were moving smoothly.
This was also the first year the Washington Road exit on Interstate 20 was closed for several hours every morning. Cassell said the move further alleviated traffic problems.
When the course was evacuated at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday because of severe weather, it posed a problem for engineers and deputies managing the traffic.
“We were able to get the majority of the crowd off the course and away from the National in two hours, which in my opinion is outstanding,” Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay said.
Throughout the week, more people left the course at once than during previous Masters.
“The weird thing that was happening this year is people weren’t leaving,” Cassell said. “Usually when some of the bigger name (golfers) leave, you see a big outflow, but we didn’t see that at all this year. Maybe it was because the traffic wasn’t that bad.”