Residents see Masters Week traffic plan

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Most years, Doug and Dorene Holland stick around their Margate Drive home the week of the Masters Tournament. But this year, as officials unveiled a plan Wednesday to turn Berckmans Road into a two-lane, one-way road for several hours each day during the tournament, the Hollands might go on vacation.

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Residents look at proposed traffic plans for Masters Week. A meeting was held Wednesday at National Hills Elementary.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Residents look at proposed traffic plans for Masters Week. A meeting was held Wednesday at National Hills Elementary.

"You have no say, and you just go with the flow," Dorene Holland said after leaving a public meeting at National Hills Elementary about the changes. "People who've lived there a long time don't try to come in the morning, and you don't try to get out in the evening."

From April 4-11, officials plan to make Berckmans Road one way from 4 to 9 p.m. each day. Traffic officials say that will make it easier and quicker for patrons to exit than in years past.

"We're hoping to get three- to four-hundred more an hour," said Cassell, who estimated more than 10,000 cars pack into the parking lots across from Augusta National Golf Club each day during the tournament.

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.

"When they get to Ingleside Drive, one lane is going to have to turn right and another lane will have to go straight," Cassell said.

With better direction inside the parking lots and a quicker departure for patrons, officials say they might be able to avoid the kind of problems that occurred Saturday of Masters Week in 2010. Lengthy backups on Berckmans Road, coupled with confusion and chaotic driving in the main parking lot, made for long wait times for patrons trying to leave. Drivers formed haphazard lines to exit the lots and some drove over curbs in an attempt to get out.

"There are going to be more people in the lots directing traffic," Cassell said. "Each lot section will have its own exit point independent of the others."

The addition of more than 1,000 parking spaces this year comes as Augusta National plans to close the last on-course parking lot open to the general public -- Lot 2, located off Berckmans Road across from Heath Drive and accessed by Gate 10.

Traffic officials also plan to make use of the new St. Sebastian Way ramps to River Watch Parkway through downtown Augusta and portions of Alexander Drive to speed patrons away from the course. A full Masters traffic plan is expected to be released later this month.

Meanwhile, Doug Holland said even though he was skeptical of the changes and dreading a longer commute, he appreciated traffic officials and sheriff's deputies for taking the time to meet with neighborhood residents before the tournament begins.

"I'm glad they did this," he said.

Comments (10) Add comment
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PR
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PR 03/09/11 - 05:30 pm
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Once more the almighty
Unpublished

Once more the almighty Masters screws the local taxpayers. When are the people of Augusta going to realize that a one-week golf tournament can not save the city from going down the toilet.

Smart_Reader
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Smart_Reader 03/09/11 - 07:36 pm
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@PR The Masters is the best

@PR The Masters is the best thing that ever happen for Augusta.

obkad
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obkad 03/09/11 - 08:15 pm
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No one but an idiot will

No one but an idiot will drive down Berkmans Drive during Masters unless they are parked there. Locals know better.

Blase
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Blase 03/09/11 - 08:24 pm
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PR, how does an efficient

PR, how does an efficient traffic plan screw the locals? Sounds like whoever is developing this plan(probably law enforcement) is trying to solve problems that will benefit locals and guests. Also I believe the millions that the guests spend is taxed so they also contribute to the tax base.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 03/09/11 - 09:22 pm
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And the moral of this story

And the moral of this story is take another route and avoid Berkman Drive at all costs.. Got it!

Augusta resident
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Augusta resident 03/09/11 - 11:39 pm
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It's better than 6:00pm

It's better than 6:00pm traffic on Washington Rd every day.

fatboyhog
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fatboyhog 03/10/11 - 06:38 am
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Funny...as a "low man of the

Funny...as a "low man of the totem pole" as a deputy, I have been saying this for years, but no one seemed to want to listen. All those guys with degrees and administrative know-how have finally (sorta) figured it out. They need to do the same with Washington Rd. as well. 4 lanes one way, 2 lanes the other, during the peak hours.

bclicious
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bclicious 03/10/11 - 08:28 am
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Fatboyhog, just like yours,

Fatboyhog, just like yours, my blood is also blue. I can't agree with you more concerning Washington Road. Unfortunately, the experts never want to listen to the man on the ground who actually is tasked with traffic control.

Also, on a side note, for those residents who live in Augusta and don't want to be caught up the traffic frenzy; the masters sounds like an excellent time to take an out of town vacation!

Hatfield0278
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Hatfield0278 03/10/11 - 09:47 am
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The first comment is the most

The first comment is the most ridiculous thing I've read in a while.

WW1949
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WW1949 03/11/11 - 08:46 am
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PR, you obviously do not

PR, you obviously do not understand economics and are possibly too young to understand. The Masters is worlwide and brings lots of good people to Augusta each year that spend millions of dollars. Some businesses in the area would not make anything if it was not for this week. The National gives away millions to the local charities each year-that's a good thing right-it helps the local people. They are not getting screwed as you say. I believe the city could even stand two weeks if that is what is needed. Good grief-worry about something else. I love all the gala and excitement it brings plus the additional revenue for my business. And by the way Augusta is not going down the toilet. It is a thriving city and alot is happening here.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/11/11 - 08:53 am
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WW1949, well said. Some don't

WW1949, well said. Some don't quite get it. The Masters is the greatest sporting event in the world and brings in about a hundred million dollars a year, plus causes many visitors to decide to move to the area. The extra police, etc. are paid by the National. In addition, as you said, the National contributes millions directly to charities in the area.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 03/11/11 - 09:00 am
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Not to mention tax-free

Not to mention tax-free rental of your home....my sister has taken advantage of this for years.....she has enjoyed many great vacations because of this goody....some homes are rented for $12,000 -$15,000 a week or more.....look at the sunny-side.

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