News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, March 16, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Masters Week is a chip shot away, and city leaders want to help you get around in the midst of the excess traffic headed our way.
Nearly 50,000 cars will cruise down Washington Road during the peak hours of the Masters tournament.
Augusta's traffic engineers started working on their traffic plan at the end of last year's tournament.
Steve Cassell, a traffic engineer for the city of Augusta said, "We've always closed the eastbound Washington Road ramp but we've done it as we needed to, this year we decided to schedule it."
The eastbound ramp of Interstate 20 coming from Atlanta will be shut down from 7:30 to 10 a.m.
"You've got a lot of converging, if we can keep pressure off that funnel and put it somewhere else, we can manage it," Cassell explained.
As cars are routed to more effective places, Berckmans Road will turn into a one-way route for the second year in a row.
"That extra lane of capacity leaving the tournament was just amazing," Cassell added.
It also cuts down on gridlock through neighborhood roads. Add traffic cameras into the mix, and engineers will also have a bird's eye view of each congested spot. They can keep a count on the number of cars on the road in real time.
"We feel that will help keep Washington Road flowing better instead of playing catch up," Cassell said.
This is also the first year Augusta will use its new adaptive traffic signals to monitor the flow and change the signals as needed.
"If you're gonna come through, it we'll get you through, but you'll have to plan effectively add more time to your travel," Cassell said. "With Alexander Drive being open, we are afraid it was going to be confusing."
The newly expanded Alexander Drive will be used mostly for thru traffic and the left turn lane will be eliminated during the week of Masters.
"If you live near a big event, there is going to be an impact," Cassell said.
This year engineers have it down to a science as they try to minimize the impact on Augusta drivers.
Augusta National also has detailed traffic maps on its website, which can be found here.