Officials want big rigs out of downtown Augusta

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Local traffic officials would like to see fewer big trucks in downtown Augusta.

Shifting a major truck route from Reynolds Street to the new Palmetto Parkway could do it.

But it won't be easy.

Officials want vehicles the size of dump trucks and larger to stop going from Bobby Jones Expressway to Interstate 20 via Sandbar Ferry Road, Reynolds Street and River Watch Parkway, said Dennis Ellis, a traffic engineering technician for Augusta.

That route takes them through the narrow streets of Augusta's historic Olde Town neighborhood and past the Augusta Common, which has led to numerous angry calls from pedestrians and residents of the Port Royal condos over the years, Ellis said.

"They complain all the time about needing to get tractor-trailers off of Reynolds," he said. "And it's fully understandable."

However, forcing trucks to use the new Palmetto Parkway expansion of Interstate 520 -- which connects directly to I-20 in South Carolina -- would take an appeal to the Georgia Department of Transportation by the Augusta Commission, said Steve Cassell, a traffic engineer.

He said the idea would need more study before anything is proposed to the DOT.

"We would have to look at the impact of shifting them off Reynolds and where they would go," he said.

Even with DOT approval, trucks could still drive through part of downtown because city officials can't stop them from using state routes. Downtown, that includes portions of Broad, Fifth, Greene, 13th and Jones streets, Washington Road/Calhoun Expressway and Reynolds Street.

"The fact is we can never keep them off of a state route even though we can discourage them," Cassell said. "Unless DOT -- which I know that they won't -- says that that part of their state route system can't be used by trucks, there is no true way to prevent trucks from being in the downtown area."

Pedestrian traffic along Reynolds is expected to increase with the construction of the 139-room Hyatt Hotel and the trade, exhibit and event center at Reynolds Street and James Brown Boulevard.

Ellis said the rerouting idea is in keeping with a plan to make Reynolds Street more of a parkway and friendly for walkers.

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

Comments (23) Add comment
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g-dog express
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g-dog express 01/23/10 - 08:42 am
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I've got a good idea. Most

I've got a good idea. Most of the problems would be solved if sheriff deputies would enforce the laws with dump truck and log truck drivers. It might even stop the harassment to other motorists.

disssman
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disssman 01/23/10 - 08:54 am
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OK. Good idea. Now what

OK. Good idea. Now what kind of dump-pickup trucks are they going to use for constructing the Hyatt and the TEE? Aren't these on Reynolds and won't they need heavy trucks to build them? Yeah it looks like pop-corn and lawn chair fun is about to begin downtown. BTW the sand and gravel distributors and the concrete plants that provide things to construct things downtown are on riverwatch and the only access downtown in Reynolds. I thought the argument for building the TEE on Reynolds was because the street could handle the traffic.

Little Lamb
45280
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Little Lamb 01/23/10 - 09:41 am
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If Dennis Ellis and the Port

If Dennis Ellis and the Port Royal condo owners want semis and dump trucks to stop using Reynolds Street, all the city would have to do is make one block of Reynolds "pedestrian only." I would suggest to set up the block where the Commons is as pedestrian only, i.e., closed to all vehicular traffic. The big rigs would get tired of having to zig-zag over to Broad and back. Voila! Problem solved.

YellowHammer
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YellowHammer 01/23/10 - 10:21 am
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I get as frustrated as

I get as frustrated as anybody when dealing with big trucks on the roadways. But the fact is that they need use of the roads as much as any vehicle and this country would grind to a halt without big trucks. Besides, big trucks pay more than their fare share for the costs of the roads. Deal with it folks.

belle
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belle 01/23/10 - 10:57 am
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I hope they are successful.
Unpublished

I hope they are successful. I frequently visit Milledgeville and am amazed at the number of logging trucks which go straight through the middle of their lovely old downtown. A block in either direction would make so much more sense. I have also visited Greenville's and Charleston's downtown and don't recall this problem there.

RoadkiII
6445
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RoadkiII 01/23/10 - 10:58 am
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As a truck drive I can say

As a truck drive I can say most drives avoid downtown areas of any city if they can. Most only go into downtown areas for pickups or deliveries.

crackerjack
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crackerjack 01/23/10 - 11:04 am
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Let the dump trucks coming

Let the dump trucks coming out of Stevens Creek at River Watch go over the bridge and go down Georgia Avenue back into town. lol

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 01/23/10 - 11:08 am
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In most cases, Trucks making
Unpublished

In most cases, Trucks making local deliveries in those areas are exempt from the truck routing restrictions. They're aimed more at the trucks passing through town that are not delivering within that particular area.

kenworth
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kenworth 01/23/10 - 11:15 am
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i have a great idea lets just

i have a great idea lets just do away with big trucks all together. everyone can join crash or patt or madd. you can all go back to the horse and buggy days. but when you want lumber to work on your house or food in your fridge and cloths on your back. oh wait a truck brought all those things for you. so no truck you wouldnt have them. before ppl bad mouth trucks remember you would not have anything without them. thank god there are ppl who drive them give up time with there familys and freinds spend days and weeks on the road to deliver your goods. oh and have to put up with all those idiots in there 4 wheelers that dont think they are driving .. just saying

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 01/23/10 - 11:26 am
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I think the trucks should be

I think the trucks should be made to go through Broad Street! I mean, think about it...look at all that money the city will make when the drivers park on Broad Street and have to feed all those parking meters! Each truck would take up about 15 parking spots, right?? $$$$$$$

bigalsc
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bigalsc 01/23/10 - 11:28 am
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Big trucks and rigs will

Big trucks and rigs will immediately gravitate to Bobby Jones Extension when its completed.

mable8
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mable8 01/23/10 - 11:30 am
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Most cities have a designate

Most cities have a designate truck route and Augusta doesn't?

double_standard
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double_standard 01/23/10 - 12:09 pm
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Instead of raising the

Instead of raising the transportation tax like the great repubulican ga legislature wants to do, why not turn the major state highway routes in to downtown toll roads. Put one on Riverwatch Pkwy and the other on Calhoun Expwy.

fdn315
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fdn315 01/23/10 - 12:10 pm
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I believe getting the trains

I believe getting the trains out of downtown and rerouting all of them through the industrial area of the south and east of the city would do a lot more for the city... and gives industries an asset and more incentive to come... in my opinion

blues550
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blues550 01/23/10 - 12:33 pm
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OMG I finally have something
Unpublished

OMG I finally have something Woodward and her DDA cronies can do!!!! Have a toll gate and charge trucks to come through downtown. They can do it from the back of a pick up looking quite dapper in their DDA ENFORCEMENT uniforms.

donrut
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donrut 01/23/10 - 12:41 pm
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people move downtown..and

people move downtown..and start whining about the conditions..its just like the same idiots who move near an Airport and complain about loud airplanes...and the ones complaining dont have a clue about trucks and what they have to deal with.most trucks would prefer to go around downtown congestion..in any city,not just Augusta.but you have tax paying buisness's in the city of augusta that run commercial trucks through town,they do pay a hefty amount of $$$ for use of the roads.

corgimom
31086
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corgimom 01/23/10 - 01:43 pm
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"Local traffic officials

"Local traffic officials would like to see fewer big trucks in downtown Augusta...Even with DOT approval, trucks could still drive through part of downtown because city officials can't stop them from using state routes. Downtown, that includes portions of Broad, Fifth, Greene, 13th and Jones streets, Washington Road/Calhoun Expressway and Reynolds Street." What is the point of this story?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/23/10 - 03:54 pm
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The point is to keep big

The point is to keep big trucks off Reynolds Street because the residents of Port Royal think they really ARE royalty and should not have to see or hear large trucks out their windows.

TheDeerhunter
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TheDeerhunter 01/23/10 - 04:09 pm
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yes this is great. U need mud

yes this is great. U need mud tires driving through this city

myopinion001
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myopinion001 01/23/10 - 05:19 pm
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Great Idea, stop the trucks

Great Idea, stop the trucks in Augusta.........why not Let the Officials meet them at I-20 and deliver everthing in their personal cars. What a pack of idiots.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 01/23/10 - 06:01 pm
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Well, well. I'm with you

Well, well. I'm with you myopinion001. That's how I was looking at it.

corgimom
31086
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corgimom 01/23/10 - 06:13 pm
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Didn't the owners at Port

Didn't the owners at Port Royal know that trucks come down that road? I knew it, why didn't they?

corgimom
31086
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corgimom 01/23/10 - 06:14 pm
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And I know that if I buy a

And I know that if I buy a residence in a business section of a city, there will be trucks. If that's objectionable to them, they shouldn't have bought there.

MarshCroaked
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MarshCroaked 01/23/10 - 06:22 pm
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corgi - How long does the "Ms

corgi - How long does the "Ms Know-it-all" medication concoction last? Just please give us an idea when it's safe to read the comments again without wearing a bib to catch the drool as we shake our heads at your posts.

noone
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noone 01/23/10 - 06:49 pm
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I think the the few bad

I think the the few bad truckers give all of them a bad name. The bad ones are the ones who act like they own the road. they go too fast and follow too close

Jake
32320
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Jake 01/23/10 - 08:59 pm
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I had a chair delivered to me

I had a chair delivered to me in Evans in 1982 that came from the Lane Co. in NC. They showed up a 5:00 in the morning with my chair. It was a huge semi with a big trailor. I took delivery in my skivies. Well at least we got the chair.

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