Augusta leaves residents in the dark about streetlight repairs

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 4:11 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Patrick Berkshire and his family have been living on Greene Street for the past seven years, and he’s never seen anything like this: At night now, he can’t see much of anything past his own porch.

The streetlights on the median and sidewalks from East Boundary to Fifth Street have been out since this summer.

Parked cars appear out of nowhere.

Families walk with flashlights.

Berkshire’s wife almost hit someone crossing the road.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s office released seven accident reports on Greene Street since July. Three appeared to have happened at night.

“A few people have complained in the neighborhood association to the city, and the indication we’ve been put on is because there are the street improvements that are coming along that they are not going to do a stopgap measure or fix them,” Berkshire said. “They’re just going to wait until they’re replaced, but we don’t know when that project is going to start … and capital projects usually take a really long time, so everyone’s nervous.”

The sidewalks of the Calhoun Expressway have also been out.

“I do remember being nervous during Halloween, I was out trick-or-treating with my daughter and a group, but yeah, we’re all getting our cellphones out and our flashlights trying to avoid tripping over hazards,” she said.

Kevin de l’Aigle – who often attends Augusta Commission meetings – pleaded with city leaders for help. He’s another Greene Street neighbor.

Monuments and light poles have been crashed into, and de l’Aigle says it’s because of the speed and lack of light that cars are traveling with on Greene Street.

“It’s really gotten dramatic actually now that it’s getting darker earlier,” de l’Aigle said.

“Traffic comes off the Calhoun Expressway … and it just feels really unsafe when they kind of barrel down Greene Street at night and it’s pitch black,” he said.

While Augusta Commission member Jordan Johnson says something is in the works, outgoing Mayor Hardie Davis – who attended his last commission meeting this week before leaving office – dismissed de l’Aigle and said the community should be more “philanthropic” about fixing this issue.

“I was surprised when the mayor and commissioners sort of put it back on me, ‘You need to be more philanthropic,’” de l’Aigle said. “I can’t help but think as taxpayers, we pay for the maintenance of streetlights.”

Berkshire predicts the city will be sued.

“I’m getting the real feeling that the city would rather just settle piecemeal lawsuits as opposed to spending the money on trying to find some sort of temporary solution to fix the lights,” he said. “It seems like there should be some sort of solution aside from, ‘I guess we’ll just wait and see when someone gets run over.”