Neighbors along Mike Padgett Highway battling construction, traffic

News 12 First at Five / Monday, June 23, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- We're about four months into the construction on Mike Padgett Highway, and it's not ending anytime soon.

Neighbors on Old Waynesboro Road say when they were first told about the construction, they knew it might be bad, but they weren't expecting this.

Construction cones are lined up and down Mike Padgett Highway, but it's the folks living off of Old Waynesboro Road who are really dealing with the traffic problems. It's been about two years since Ashley Mincey moved into her home off of Old Waynesboro Road. They won't even let the windows down in their house now because of the constant sound of car horns and trucks driving by, Ashley said.

After receiving a letter in April warning neighbors about traffic changes, she was prepared for a little inconvenience. The traffic is so bad during certain times in the day, it will even lead up to the front of her neighborhood, more than a mile away from the Mike Padgett Highway intersection. Even when it's not that busy though, there are constantly cars flying by.

"We didn't imagine this, it's awful, it makes you want to sell your house," she said.

Now she has to plan her whole life around this traffic, even changing her work schedule. Now the only time she really gets to spend with her children is on the weekend, when she's not battling traffic to get home.

She sees a lot of construction cones, and a lot of traffic, but she hasn't seen a whole lot of progress.

"If you go up there right now you don't see anybody working, it you go up there at night you don't see anybody working," Ashley said.

Right now neighbors say it's even worse than normal because of summer school classes at Cross Creek High School. Ashley's nephew attends classes there, and her brother will wait hours in line to pick him and drop him off. Sometimes there is even an officer at the school to stop the traffic and let those cars out, Ashley said.

Sgt. Whitehead with the Richmond County Sheriff Office Traffic Division said they are doing their best to keep up with all of the traffic.

"We're there with them and we're gonna stay with them until they're finished with the job," he said.

Jack Trude the general superintendent of the construction company manning this project said everything is running on schedule and hopes they might even be done early. Right now the first phase of building the bridges along the highway is going well and should be complete by the end of the year. There will be a traffic switch by Old Waynesboro Road and Castle Pines in the next few weeks folks should be aware of.

The construction is not adding any additional lanes to Mike Padgett. It is widening the current lanes and making the area safer overall by limiting the amount of left turns people will be able to make on the busy road. They are adding a small median to help with this situation. They are trying not to impede on traffic too much during this process.

The city's traffic department says they've added signs along Old Waynesboro Road and Hephzibah McBean Road to help make neighbors more aware of the traffic. Other than that, they are relying on DOT to help with the traffic overflow.

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