News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 4, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- The first practice round of the Masters Tournament starts today. So does the balancing act of keeping you safe on the jam-packed roads, as thousands try to maneuver Augusta's roadways.
Traffic engineers are stationed all week at a central command center at Westside High School to monitor the conditions on Washington Road.
As most of Augusta converges on one spot, 80,000 cars will pass through Washington Rd. each day. Engineers have come up with a plan to get neighbors like Eric Loggins on the road and off to work.
"More than likely I'll go up Berckmans, head on out toward Walton way," said Loggins.
Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said, "We're limited basically. We've squeaked all the capacity we can out of Washington Road. Berckmans Rd. is really our last option at this point."
So this year Berckmans turns into a one way street in the evenings. "This year I think they've made some improvements giving the neighborhood passes," said Loggins.
"We've had a lot of complaints over the years of not being able to turn into their neighborhood, being forced down one street. So we're trying to accommodate that and keep things flowing," Cassell said.
If that flow slows down, engineers can switch how much green time drivers have at a specific intersection from the command center.
"Depending on whose tee time it is during the tournament, you'll get a big rush during some of the more popular golfers," explained Cassell. "We're set up we have our cameras to monitor them all the time. If we need to close a ramp, we can make that call from there."
"They have signs up to take alternate routes," Loggins said. "Hopefully, they'll do a good professional job of keeping things normal."
With his pass in hand, Loggins doesn't expect any problems, but to avoid the traffic that's as far as the eye can see, he'll hit the road early.
You can also view to cameras for yourself at home at http://www.augustatraffic.com. HERO units from Atlanta are also on standby this week to assist with any accidents on the roads.