Path off River Watch for emergencies only

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Traffic officials want to make one thing clear -- no one is getting a private roadway onto River Watch Parkway.

About a mile east of Alexander Drive, crews have built a small gravel road connecting Lynndale Inc. to the eastbound lanes of River Watch Parkway. The area, which looks like a small driveway, has prompted several calls from residents wanting their own private cut-through to the parkway, said Steve Cassell, the assistant traffic engineer for Richmond County.

But the road was built as an access for emergency vehicles in the event a deadly train derailment trapped people on one side of the tracks.

Mr. Cassell said the 2005 Graniteville train wreck and chemical spill, which killed nine people and forced officials to evacuate thousands, has caused officials to look at areas where emergency access was needed.

"It will be gated and closed off probably 99.99 percent of the time," Mr. Cassell said. "But if something were to happen, it gives us a route to get in there."

Another small access road from Lover's Lane to Bobby Jones Expressway was built about a year ago, he said.

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


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