Thu, April 25, 2024

Changes to Augusta’s Masters Week traffic plan

Augusta’s traffic engineering division is ready to launch the traffic plan for Masters Week 2024.

Assistant Director, John Ussery held a media briefing and outlined the plan. Much of it is familiar, steps created to improve traffic flow for the roughly 30,000 vehicles trying to access and depart the golf course.

This year, however, the plan includes two major changes.

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A traffic light was installed at Washington Road and River Ridge Road. It is necessary because the Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC) purchased the former Electrolux building and turned it into a venue for patrons.

“What that means for traffic is there will be pedestrians wanting to cross this intersection where you can obviously tell there’s no crossing,” he said adding crosswalks will be installed across River Ridge Road and across Washington Road.

“We expect this traffic light to go live on April first. So, your commute to work on Monday, April 1, the traffic signal will be active and will be controlling traffic on Monday.”

The traffic light is temporary. It will be removed shortly after the tournament ends.

District 7 Commissioner, Sean Frantom said he has heard from community members with another idea.

“I think there’s going to be a fight, members of the community want to keep it,” he chuckled. “I think that as we talk with GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation) after the Masters, we will have to have that fight to make sure that it stays. I’ve already been getting calls about seeing that light permanent because of the number of people that live in the National Hills area.”

A second change will help patrons navigate to the parking lots at ANGC.

In years past, Ussery advised turning off navigation systems on phones and in vehicles and instead to follow signs to get to and from the course.

Not this year.

A QR code, developed by ANGC, was included in the packet of information sent to patrons along with their tickets.

“So, you scan the QR screen, and you get a choice of three navigation apps, Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze. And just pick the one that you like best,” he said. “What it does is, it gives you a point in the center of the parking lot. This allows navigation to try to get you to the correct place.”

A consultant will be in the traffic center to monitor changes in traffic patterns and send updated information in real-time.

There will also be GDOT personnel in the center, as well as CHAMP (Coordinated Highway Assistance and Maintenance Program) and HERO (Highway Emergency Response Operators) mobile units available to help motorists who have vehicle problems on the highways. Motorists can request help by calling 5-1-1.

Augusta also receives assistance from other municipalities.

At the March 25 North Augusta City Council study session, Tom Zeaser, Director of Public Works and Engineering, said his crews would help install golf traffic signs.

“We do this every year. Nothing new, but it’s an attempt to try to route some of that traffic through North Augusta to avoid some of the exits in Georgia,” he reported. “The signs will extend from the interstate and West Martintown Road to Georgia Avenue, down Georgia Avenue to the river.”

Augusta currently has multiple road projects across the downtown area. Those will be paused.

“We will suspend construction downtown. Starting next week, through the middle of the week after the tournament,” said Ussery. “Some roads that have been closed for quite a while; all those roads will be open to two-lane traffic during this tournament. Some of the outside lanes may still be closed, but all the roads will be open, and you’ll be able to go wherever you want to go.”

Frantom said all the work is worth it, so visitors feel welcome.

“When the world comes to our city, we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready for it. I think this year with the app aspect of people being able to log on and check where to park, I think is huge. I think it’s a game changer on the traffic side.”

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