Augusta prides itself on being the home of the Masters, and fancies itself the Garden City.
Right now, it’s also the Orange Barrel Capital.
Have there ever been so many transportation projects going on here at once?
Then again, have we ever needed it more? With mushrooming growth at Fort Gordon being felt in south Augusta, nearby Columbia County and downtown, especially, our roads and other transportation infrastructure have never needed more widening and improving.
Thank goodness we passed the Transportation Investment Act – also known as the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax – back in 2012.
Highly controversial at the time, it’s not certain where the area would be without it today – except stuck in traffic.
River Watch Parkway, one of the area’s most important arteries and one that relieves congestion off Washington Road, is being made smoother and safer. The realignment of Berckmans Road with Alexander Drive at Washington Road has improved traffic flow year-round, made the Masters safer for drivers and pedestrians, and given Augusta National room to grow.
Broad Street – downtown Augusta’s Main Street – is to be resurfaced and refashioned, with improved curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and storm sewers, from Washington Road to Sand Bar Ferry Road – pretty much the length of it.
From north to south to east to west, getting around Augusta will be easier and more enjoyable in the years to come, and will provide the infrastructure for future growth.
And that’s just a few of the projects in Richmond County alone. The TSPLOST covers a multitude of projects in a 13-county area.
Atnoon today, even Gov. Nathan Deal will be on hand to dedicate one TSPLOST project in honor of them all: Newly refurbished and modernized hangar doors at Augusta’s historic and still-vital Daniel Field Airport.
The 1940s-era doors, which were way behind the times and sometimes took a handful of strapping men to open and close, are now fit for the 21st century and open and close at the push of a button. General aviation at Daniel Field includes such things as hobbyists, business planes, Masters traffic and medical flights – all of which benefit the entire community economically and in other ways.
Were it not for the TSPLOST – 40 percent or more of which is contributed by visitors to the area – such a project might never have been feasible.
Indeed, the General Aviation Commission voted to dedicate the hangar doors not to some big-name politician, but to the voters of the area who made it happen.
“I can’t remember any project being dedicated to the citizens,” says airport vice president of business development Becky Shealy.
Nor can we remember so much infrastructure work going on at one time.
It may present some obstacle courses for awhile – but it’s paving the way for progress.