Changes coming to stretch of Laney Walker

Changes are coming to a stretch of Laney Walker Boulevard. (WRDW-TV)
Changes are coming to a stretch of Laney Walker Boulevard. (WRDW-TV)
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Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Laney Walker Boulevard is going to look very different this time next year between R.A. Dent Boulevard and 15th Street in downtown Augusta.

The stretch of the now four-lane road that runs through the medical campus will become two lanes. Plans also include tree-lined sidewalks and paths so those walking and biking have more room. The changes are supposed to make the road safer for students, staff and visitors at Georgia Regents University Augusta.

The community got a chance to see what the changes will bring and ask questions on Wednesday night. However, not everyone likes the plan.

Isaac Green has lived his whole life around Laney Walker Boulevard. He was hoping to see a full presentation at Wednesday night's meeting.

Instead, Green was disappointed when he arrived to find a public information open house.

"I thought there should've been some people explaining some different angles about the project," Green told News 12.

For two and a half hours, Green and anyone else interested in looking at the drawings could stop by to see them and ask questions.

The project will take Laney Walker from a four-lane road to a two-lane road between R.A. Dent Boulevard and 15th Street by the end of the year.

Green says he thinks the people in charge of the changes aren't showing their whole plan.

"You wish you knew the whole picture. I think there's other plans in the works that the community is not knowledgeable about yet," Green said.

The original request was to eliminate traffic on Laney Walker where it cuts through the medical campus. The idea was to give the GRU more of a college feel.

Pastor Kenneth B. Martin was one of the first to protest against that plan and says it won't happen on his watch.

"Just as sure as heaven is happy," said Pastor Martin, "You will hear from us."

Commissioner Alvin Mason says people don't need to worry about any more changes beyond the plans for a lane road lined with trees and paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"That's still a street that belongs to us. That's important for the citizens of Augusta-Richmond County to understand, and this is one commissioner that wouldn't vote for anything that closes this street off in any type of capacity, way, shape or form," Mason said.

Green agrees with Mason and says Laney Walker Boulevard has too much history to be taken off the map.

"No, it's too historical for that. No, I can't go along with that," Green said.

The entire project will cost around $900,000, and $700,000 of that with come from a grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation. GRU will chip in the rest of the money.

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