Family 'devastated' by suggested Berckmans Road widening project

Engineers working to realign Berckmans Rd. and Alexander Dr. (WRDW-TV, May 25, 2012)
Engineers working to realign Berckmans Rd. and Alexander Dr. (WRDW-TV, May 25, 2012)
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News 12 First at Five / Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's supposed to make driving along Washington Road in Augusta a lot easier, but one local family says the proposed Berckmans Road widening project will devastate their family.

"What can you say?" said Herman Thacker. "It is just unreal."

The suggested Berckmans Road expansion route runs right next to Thacker's home. It goes up Heath Drive toward Stanley Drive and down to Alexander Drive. It would create a straight path from Walton Way to Riverwatch Parkway.

"And we are just devastated by it," Thacker said.

Mr. Thacker says he never thought he would live to see the day when at best a road project threatened to eat up part of his neatly kept lawn or devour his entire neighboring property.

"We were told that," Mr. Thacker said. "It will probably never happen in your lifetime."

"If I lived there, I would have concerns, too," said Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell. "At the end of the day, we want what we put in to work."

The plan calls for two travel lanes with a center turn lane from Washington Road down to Wheeler Road. It also calls for a roundabout at Ingleside Drive.

"It's the opposite of NASCAR. NASCAR is all left turns," said Cassell with a smile. "Roundabouts are all right turns."

Mr. Thacker fears after more than 50 years his front yard will soon look more like a motor speedway.

"We are going to just have to learn to live with it," he said. "Because at our age we can't just pull up and move and start over again."

The recent TSPLOST vote covers the cost of the project.

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