Revamp plans underway for Broad Street in Augusta
According to Augusta Traffic Engineering, the planning stage is halfway complete. The project requires final approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation, or GDOT, by the end of 2022. However, initial renderings are already available to the public.
Parking is a major focus for this project. Assistant Director of Traffic John Ussery says Broad Street has not seen major work of this kind since the 1970s. That means the Broad Street Augusta has now, Ussery says, does not meet current safety standards.
"Parking wells is a big one. The parking spaces are too narrow, the isle between the two sides of parking is too narrow, it's difficult to get in and out of them, it's difficult to see...So just all of those things make it somewhat unsafe. We're going to improve all of that." said John Ussery, Assistant Director of Traffic.
Under this plan, parking would be brought up to surface level. Another priority is to make Broad Street friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.
“We just want to improve it, bring everything up to more current standards, but then also make sure that we make it inviting and accessible to people that want to stop, park, get out and walk, enjoy the restaurants, enjoy the businesses, so we have to take all these things into consideration when we’re doing the design.” said Ussery.
Aesthetic changes are also in the plans. Ussery says the city will remove some trees and replace them. They also plan to upgrade landscaping and other features, like the Common. Plus, a new concept coming out of these upgrades is the 'James Brown Linear Park.'
Once approved, work is expected to begin in late 2023 or 2024. Ussery says the work will be staggered in order to allow traffic to continue to flow on Broad Street. This is also to allow room for traffic to navigate around other traffic projects in downtown Augusta, such as work on Fifth, Greene and Telfair Streets.
"Broad street is old. So, we know we are going to run into things that we don't anticipate as hard as we've tried to identify everything that's under the ground, and you know, under Broad Street, I know we're going to run into stuff that we just didn't know was there. So, we need to build in some time for that sort of scenario." said Ussery.
Ussery says the project should take about two years to complete.
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