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Traffic engineers to discuss proposed Berckmans Road redesign at public meeting

Berckmans Road
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City traffic engineers have chosen the preferred route for connecting Berckmans Road with Alexander Drive, and it goes through the heart of Augusta National Golf Club’s parking lots.

Augusta Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said the most feasible route makes a diagonal line from Heath Drive toward Stanley Drive to intersect with Alexander Drive. And the project could happen sooner than its current 2020 start date, he said.

The remaining design concept, although not finalized, is similar to four of five proposed routes that were presented to the public at a June meeting. A second public meeting will be held Monday at Julian Smith Casino with project engineers on hand to answer questions.

Four of the proposed routes made slightly different diagonal cuts and used some existing roads, while the fifth route made a sweeping curve to the west, largely bypassing property owned by entities connected to Augusta National.

In June, some homeowners along Stanley Drive said they preferred the sweeping curve because it interfered the least with their properties.

Cassell said the sweeping curve was not feasible because of higher construction costs.

One major change to the remaining design involves having two traffic lanes with a center turn lane, instead of four traffic lanes. Cassell said public comment widely opposed five lanes.

Stanley Drive homeowner Elizabeth Thacker said she wanted the curved route because it would avoid more of her property but was pleased to learn the road will be three lanes, not five.

“It won’t take up as much of our property,” she said. “We’re trying to save our trees.”

Cassell said realigning Berckmans Road with Alexander Drive less than a half-mile west of its current intersection with Washington Road will help improve traffic flow to west Augusta. He also said the road, which could include pedestrian underpasses, is being done with the Masters Tournament in mind.

“We’re looking for something that works year-round and benefits everyone,” Cassell said. Augusta National is “definitely the largest property owner there, so whatever we do, we’re going to have to negotiate with them.”

According to a statement from Augusta National, the golf club is waiting for more details on the proposed plan to determine the overall effect on its property and the city.

The club supports the city’s need for improved traffic flow near the property’s border year-round and during the Masters Tournament, the statement said.

The project received funding by voter approval of the 1 percent regional sales tax for transportation projects on July 31. The tax allocates $16.7 million for widening Berckmans Road and another $3.7 million to replace a bridge on the road over Rae’s Creek.

After about 18 more months of design work, engineers could start right-of-way and land acquisition, Cassell said.

Comments (10) Add comment
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dwb619
93479
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dwb619 09/15/12 - 07:39 pm
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surprised

If this ever happens.

Dixieman
14943
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Dixieman 09/15/12 - 08:00 pm
3
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What would be nice

would be a MAP showing where the proposed road would go!! C'mon, AC, this is not rocket science.

floridasun
310
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floridasun 09/15/12 - 08:26 pm
3
0
Trees

I sure hope they save as many trees as possible when they do this realignment and do adequate landscaping.
On another note I drive Berkmans Road nearly every day and I see no traffic issues. Not really sure why this is necessary

jmo
15972
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jmo 09/16/12 - 02:41 am
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$20 MILLION

Twenty million to alleviate traffic during four days of the year. In my opinion the money could be better spent. I wonder whose making money off of this project.

seenitB4
87114
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seenitB4 09/16/12 - 07:59 am
1
1
Necessary??

Because it is necessary to certain people...that's why.

Little Lamb
45908
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Little Lamb 09/17/12 - 01:32 pm
1
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Necessary

Not quite, but it's desirable to the rock quarries and the asphalt paving companies.

Little Lamb
45908
Points
Little Lamb 09/17/12 - 01:35 pm
1
0
Suicide Lanes?

I can see suicide lanes from the apartments to Wheeler Rd., but I don't see any need for suicide lanes on the diagonal section running through the National's parking lots. Not much need to turn left there.

my.voice
4819
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my.voice 09/17/12 - 02:07 pm
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I have a question for Mr

I have a question for Mr Cassell:

Why did you hire an Atlanta firm when there were several capable local engineering firms available?

Hint to Commissioners: When you pay local, you collect taxes local. I can guarantee Atlanta is sending NO money here!

Little Lamb
45908
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Little Lamb 09/17/12 - 02:45 pm
2
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Low Bid

There was a court case against Augusta alleging unfair practices of the Procurement Department (are you surprised) and the awarding of contracts based on cronyism. Judge Carlisle Overstreet found for the plaintiff and told Augusta they are violating state law if they send proposals out for bid and don't pick the lowest qualified bidder.

Maybe that's why the Atlanta firm got the engineering contract.

my.voice
4819
Points
my.voice 09/17/12 - 04:15 pm
2
0
In this instance, the

In this instance, the proposals were actually an RFQ. No money figures were requested. RFQ NUMBER 11-108 based on research.

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