Engineers put the final touches on traffic plans for 2017 Masters

Engineers put the final touches on traffic plans for 2017 Masters

Augusta National Golf Club (WFXG) - What means golf for many might mean inconvenience for others.
The Masters is only a couple weeks away and area engineers are putting their best foot forward to make traffic as smooth as possible.

When it comes to the most prestigious tournament in golf, no one wants to end up with egg on their face.
Managing the Masters is the topic of a lot of city conversations, though some folks already have their own traffic plans for the Masters.

"I've learned that you've got to work around it," said Frealin Craft of Grovetown. "You can't work through it."

Others actually enjoy the attention.

"It's kind of fun because it brings a different flavor than what's in Augusta for the rest of the year, but it is busy," said Gemma Williams. Williams is from Grovetown and has lived in the area for 13 years.

And more, yet, use this as vacation time.

"We go to the beach," said Madison White of Martinez. She's lived in the area for 21 years. "We make it a point to go to the beach for the whole week."

Over the past decade, the most prestigious golf tournament on Earth has had traffic plans adjusted and fine-tuned to oblivion.
Signs went up on Wheeler Road today, with more to come.
This is just the first phase in successfully managing a tournament with worldwide appeal.

"People call me from other states, other events, and ask how we do it," said Steve Cassell, traffic engineer for Columbia County. "But it's really just a team effort between the event, the sheriff's office, Georgia DOT--it's very hard to get those kind of groups together and pull in the same direction."

Cassell is acting as an advisor for some of the newer engineers in Richmond County.
He's devised Masters traffic plans since 2007.
This year's event will see some more tinkering to ease the stress of certain routes.

"Old Berckmans Road, which used to be an entry point for anybody coming from the downtown area, now that entry point has been shifted to the west a few hundred feet," said John Ussery, the assistant traffic director for Richmond County. "And it's directly across from River Ridge."

And if you are coming in from eastbound I-20, you will have to plan for a bit of a detour.

"We're going to close that ramp at Washington and force you to go up to Riverwatch Parkway to try to manage that direction of traffic," said Ussery.

However, westbound I-20 will be able to exit at Washington Road.
Just getting to a stage where only minor changes are needed is an accomplishment in itself.

"I've been proud of how that thing's operated over the years and I think as it gets transitioned over, I think people will be proud of how it goes forward," said Cassell.

The volume of cars should really start to increase in the next week and a half, with Alexander Drive and (new) Berckmans Road as the focal point of the traffic.

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