Augusta could see less traffic than usual for the Masters this time around

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:00 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Traffic this morning is off to a busy start for the beginning of Masters week, although officials expect the volume to be lower than in most past years.

Augusta traffic engineers said at 6:20 a.m. Monday that traffic was heavy on Washington Road and Berckmans Road and drivers should expect delays.

On any given day, 55,000 cars travel along Washington Road. On any given Masters tournament, that number would double.

But for Augusta’s Traffic Engineering Department, a lot of the planning for this year’s tournament has been a guessing game.

Where Washington Road would usually see about 110,000 cars during Masters Week, traffic engineers expect just about 65,000.

“Because of the reduced number of patrons, that’s what we’ve been told to expect for this year,” Assistant director John Ussery said.

But just because there are fewer patrons, that doesn’t mean there will not be any traffic at all. Normally, traffic engineering would divert cars from Washington Road to Riverwatch or Walton Way. But not this year.

“The morning should be pretty normal. In the afternoon, if you’re going to use Washington Road, you will see additional traffic. You will see delays,” Ussery said.

Trying to guess how many people without tournament tickets will come or how many locals won’t leave town during the tournament also poses a challenge.

“On a normal Masters, we just kind of go through the same routine. This year, because it’s sort of in-between November’s Masters which had no patrons, and a normal Masters which has a lot of patrons, we have to kind of reinvent everything,” Ussery explained.

So, they’re preparing for all scenarios. You won’t see traffic barriers or lane reconfigurations this year. But should traffic become worse than expected, the department says, they’ll be ready.

One thing the traffic engineering department will do, they say, is installing pedestrian barriers to help with foot traffic.

They’ll also be controlling the traffic lights manually from the traffic management center to help ease traffic flow.

“In the back of our mind, we are ready to install the normal Masters items that we would normally do. Even though they’re not on the road, we have them staged sort of off to the side,” Ussery said.

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