News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, March 9, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga.--- The people living closest to Augusta National are getting their first look at a new traffic plan for Masters week. The plan makes Berckmans, the road running along side Augusta National, one way between the hours of 4pm and 9 pm south of Cherry Lane. All traffic will head away from Washington Road up Berckmans. Drivers will be directed to either turn right at Ingleside Drive or continue all the way to Walton Way and Wheeler Road.
Wednesday night, members of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and city traffic engineers teamed up to answer questions from the people who live closest to the gold course.
Captain Scott Gay explained to Vickie Sandala how she'll be getting to and from her apartment.
"You'll have to go down and turn into the entrance of Jamestown, which is right here, and turn," Gay said.
"So what the heck, I got to go through all this traffic when normally I go right here and go around? That's not right," Sandala shot back.
Not right and certainly not popular in National Hills.
"So, yes, it's going to be an inconvenience. I apologize for that, but we have to do something," Captain Gay told another neighbor.
Trisha and Peter Hughes live in National Hills too. They say it's all just part of living near a world famous golf course.
"Anything they want to do for that one week out of the year," Trisha siad. "The Tournament brings so much to Augusta, we all benefit so much from this tournament, I say let them do whatever they want to do."
Peter was quick to add, "Any locals who try to go down that road during Tournament let-out time, I think need to learn their lesson once and for all anyway."
The Hughes are more understanding than most. Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell has been getting an earful.
"Some of them were very knee-jerk about it, and I expected that," Cassell said. "I mean, this is a big change. It's a changing of a mentality that's gone back to the beginning of the Tournament. We're making a significant change to the road. They own property in the area, so it's going to have an impact to them, you know I can't lie."
But some of their neighbors aren't quite so understanding. Vickie Sandala wants to know who came up with it.
"I ask him why the people in the neighborhood didn't get a say on this before it was all decided by somebody," she said. "He told me I needed to talk to this gentleman over here in the yellow shirt from the city of Augusta, and when I asked him about it, he said he don't think the deputy is right in what he's telling me. So it looks like the right hand don't know what the left hand is doing, and I still don't know how I'm going to get home."
This is just the first phase of the full traffic plan. The rest of it will be unveiled two weeks before the Masters.