Section of Walton Way to close later this month

At least 25,000 vehicles drive on Walton Way near University Hospital everyday.

By the end of this month, that number will be zero.

Work crews will be closing a small section of one of Augusta’s busiest roadways for about four months beginning July 27. The reason for the closure, officials said, is progress. By July 2010, St. Sebastian Way will extend over the Augusta Canal and connect drivers to Greene, Broad, Jones and Reynolds streets. The plan for the new roadway is to quickly whisk drivers from the city’s medical centers to Riverwatch Parkway, all while avoiding downtown railroad tracks and stop lights.

Before they finish the work though, work crews must tie in the new utility and water lines that will accompany the road in to Walton Way, according to Cissy McNure, a spokeswoman for Georgia Department of Transportation.

Steve Cassell, a Richmond County Traffic Engineer, said his office is concerned with the impact the closure will have on the nearby residents of Peabody Apartments — a public housing building for the elderly — who rely heavily on Augusta Public Transit service. Mr. Cassell said they are still finalizing detour plans with public transit officials but said the residents will still have access to bus service.

“Bus service will serve those areas in the same manner it does now,” Mr. Cassell said.

Motorists will be directed around the closure using a series of detours on 15th , Greene and 13th streets.

Crews are anticipating having to close a portion of 15th Street as well but the plans and date for the closure have yet to be finalized.

The project is about 50 percent complete.

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