Neighbors worry about road construction's potential impact on Rae's Creek

Published: Jun. 20, 2017 at 11:50 PM EDT
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News 12 NBC 26 News At 11 O'Clock | Tuesday, June 20, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's a popular cut through to the Augusta Mall and it's set to get an eight million dollar facelift.

Marks Church Road, the two-lane connector between Wrightsboro Road and Wheeler Road, sees hundreds of cars a day as one of Augusta's busiest roads. It also runs over one of the most famous creeks across the country, Rae's Creek.

Neighbors say they've been hearing about updates for years but had seen no progress or orange barrels yet. But as this road widening project is set to get underway, neighbors hope that one of Augusta's landmarks doesn't suffer from this progression.

"We are on Jamaica Drive and this is our exit," Anne Turner points out on an Augusta Engineering road map. "They're going to be raising the road and the bridge."

Turner has lived off this road for four years and says making the turn home is as uncertain as ever.

"In the past, we have requested to have a flashing yellow light because people come around the curve from Wheeler Road," Turner says, "and they are increasing speed as they go down the hill."

Augusta's Engineering Department showcased 8 million dollars in upgrades Tuesday night for neighbors and drivers alike, including a third turn lane, updated sewer lines and sidewalks to keep people off the road at night.

"It's been a concern as a driver people walking at night. They are walking through peoples yards, they are walking on the street," Turner says, "and then walking into the yard because there is no sidewalk for them to get to the grocery stores especially those in the multi family units just pass Tanglewood."

Turner and others have another concern - keeping the construction debris out of the one and only Rae's Creek, the same water that flows through the heart of the Augusta National Golf Club.

"It is part of our make-up of our area," Turner says. "There have been drainage issues in the past, especially in the neighborhood and we don't want the construction to cause any more challenges in the areas then have been previously experienced."

But aside from the creek, she says any change to avoid an accident is one she and her neighbors will welcome.

"We are stopped," Turner says, "so the idea of having a turn lane is a nice feature to be able to get out of their way and not get rear ended."

Augusta's Engineering Department says the TIA project will take 18 months to finish and they'll get the orange barrels out there in the next few weeks to begin phase two of the project.

Neighbors says Jackson road, just one road over, was just re-paved and people there say they've seen more people speeding. They just don't want to see any more accidents out here close to their homes, even when the speed limit is just 35 miles per hour.