News 12 at 6 o'clock; February 29, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Your drive in Augusta is anything but simple these days. Everywhere you look in Augusta, there's construction. So, how will it be when the Masters starts? We sent News 12's Gene Petriello to find out.
Jonathan McCarthy knows all about traffic in Augusta. "When it takes you an hour to get to work and you only live like 15 minutes away, I think it's crazy, to be honest with you."
It's bad now, but how about a little over a month from now during the Masters?
"Don't really want to think about it! I've been taking vacation that week. Now, I guess, I got to prepare for 3 hours to get to work," says Jonathan.
I-20, Washington Road, Bobby Jones Expressway, Riverwatch Parkway...all you see are orange barrels, construction vehicles and, of course, traffic backed up.
"How slow can slow go? You just kind of sit there," says McCarthy.
Walking along Riverwatch Parkway is just like driving: you try to avoid all those orange barrels. Not to mention, two lanes dropping down to one. Traffic was backing up along the road when we were out there and it was only around lunch time.
"This is nothing compared to Masters Week," says Richmond Co. Sheriff's Cpl. Mark Chestang.
News 12 is On Your Side to help you avoid all the traffic mess during Masters Week.
The good news is, all the construction in the area will stop. The orange barrels will leave the roadway and lanes will be opened back up.
"(There will be) two lanes on all interstates and all roads that are available that have two lanes now," says GDOT Engineer Mike Keene.
As for Wheeler Road, "We should have longer left hand turn lanes in there during the Masters time," says Mike.
But getting onto Bobby Jones eastbound from Wheeler Road? "That'll remain the same, because we got the road cut out for construction on the right side and there's no way for us to move over," says Mike.
Here's the plan for Riverwatch Parkway: "Two lanes of traffic in both directions throughout the Masters," says Mike.
How about the all important Washington Road? Going away from the course towards Columbia County, "the right turn lane as you get onto I-20 eastbound, that'll be completely opened up." The I-20 westbound ramp on Washington Road that is closed right now will also be opened back up for the tournament. But the barriers that are under the bridge on Washington Road before the closed I-20 westbound ramp will not be moved.
All the construction is scheduled to pick back up again the Tuesday after the Masters ends.
"No matter where you go, it's going to be straight madness," says McCarthy.
Mike Keene says the best way to avoid all the traffic would be to go all the way around on I-520.