Uneasy access

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For Sally Knight, getting onto Interstate 20 has become a gamble she can no longer take.

"You just have to step on the gas and pray," said Ms. Knight, who works at Pilot Travel Center near River Watch Parkway.

Construction eliminated acceleration lanes on I-20, and stop signs were placed at the on-ramps, causing long lines while drivers wait to enter the interstate from River Watch Parkway, Washington Road and parts of Bobby Jones Expressway.

"I started taking River Watch Parkway instead," Ms. Knight said, adding that some of her co-workers are doing the same. "Every day something changes out there (on I-20)."

Officials say they hope to remove some of the stop signs by Memorial Day, but the rest could remain until late June or July.

Sam Stutt, the project manager for the I-20 and Bobby Jones Expressway interchange roadwork, said they had to choose between closing ramps or using stop signs.

"We're shoehorning a much bigger road in the original footprint," Mr. Stutt said. "You've got to remember, we're expanding this whole interchange without buying a right-of-way."

Jeff Terry, of the South Carolina Department of Transportation, said he's not sure his office would be permitted to use the temporary ramps the way Georgia is. However, Mr. Terry said an exception could be made for a project of this size.

"That's a tough call and I'll be honest, I'm glad it's not one I have to make," Mr. Terry said.

The project isn't scheduled to be complete for five months, but some of the new lanes could be opened by Memorial Day, said Mike Keene, the Augusta area engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. He said the stop signs will remain at the on-ramps from River Watch Parkway to I-20, but the ones on Washington Road could be gone as soon as next week.

By late June or July, he said it is possible the new lanes could be opened for most of the project.

"Sometime in midsummer -- most definitely by late summer -- (drivers) will see a world of change out there," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (11) Add comment
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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/17/09 - 07:14 am
0
0
While the stop signs are an

While the stop signs are an inconvenience compared to the merge lanes, they're just that, an inconvenience. I use the Washington Rd exit to I-20 several times a day with little or no problem, if one excludes the many drivers that seem to be confused.

g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 05/17/09 - 08:29 am
0
0
This is absolutely the worst

This is absolutely the worst merging traffic I have ever seen. The engineers who planned this really do not know what they are doing. I have lived in several major cities in the US and have seen a lot of road construction projects that were making the highway or interstate larger. In my opinion it is set up to cause accidents. I avoid it as much as I can. Unfortunately I have to get onto it occasionally. You are trying to merge onto a two lane freeway. They put a stop sign at the end of an entrance ramp. DUH! Then to cap it off they put a concrete wall so that you cannot see the traffic coming. There is enough road to put a temporary 3rd lane so you can merge but that is too simple.

dsterling9
832
Points
dsterling9 05/17/09 - 09:09 am
0
0
The problem is not only with

The problem is not only with the lack of an acceleration lane to merge into moving traffic. The major problem is the disregard for the posted speed limit by almost everyone traveling on I-20 (including law enforcement). This is the same problem on I-520 (Bobby Jones Raceway). If you attempt to obey the limit on either you take your life in your hands.

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 05/17/09 - 09:41 am
0
0
What is worse is the illegal

What is worse is the illegal U-turns by the Starbucks on Washington Road by idiots who don't want to spend an extra 2 minutes to get westbound on I-20. There is a collision there almost once a day and the police do NOTHING!!!

xzy
3
Points
xzy 05/17/09 - 09:43 am
0
0
I am surprised there have not

I am surprised there have not been more accidents in all these construction areas. The Grovetown Road Exit off I-20 appears to be finished, but is still dangerous, especially at night. While they did put lights up when you go to the right getting off the interstate coming from Augusta there is no warning that this lane runs out. Before you know it you are down to the one lane. Very dangerous!! Needs to be marked better. There is a sign coming from Grovetown saying lane is going to go down to one, but if you are coming off the interstate this is not marked.

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 05/17/09 - 11:54 am
0
0
They are more than an

They are more than an inconvenience..the DOT is just lucky there have not been accidents and deaths. Many people are just getting out there and praying like the one lady said. Besides the stop signs you have to look around the barrier. Not all of us are driving big redneck SUVs.

humbleopinion
0
Points
humbleopinion 05/17/09 - 12:03 pm
0
0
I'll go one further

I'll go one further Dixieman.....How about the idiots that IGNORE the NO LEFT TURN sign at Washington Rd and I-20? They back up traffic with horns blaring and have no regard for the signs or those behind them. I've actually seen Richmond County police making the illegal left turn as well...........

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 05/17/09 - 12:33 pm
0
0
Oh.. please the cookies that

Oh.. please the cookies that we call police here in richmond county.. of course they are not going to do anything.. there has to be a dead body before they come out and do something!!

g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 05/17/09 - 07:39 pm
0
0
imdstuf there has been at

imdstuf there has been at least 3 people killed since this project began. Death is not enough for the engineers or police to make needed changes.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 05/17/09 - 08:13 pm
0
0
GDOT= IDIOTS. Look at Wheeler

GDOT= IDIOTS. Look at Wheeler Rd/ I-520. A big arrow board would be nice to let the out of town truckers know the lane is ending. No one looks at the 8x11 signs they posted.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 05/17/09 - 08:13 pm
0
0
g-dog, let one of the

g-dog, let one of the engineers/ RCSO family members get killed then watch the changes!

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