Redesigned road moving forward despite criticism
The proposed widening and redesign of Berckmans Road is not only still moving forward, it has an earlier starting date. The original proposal, announced last June, had a 2020 construction start date, but it could now be starting as early as 2016.
While a date might have been set, the project itself is still in its concept phase, meaning it could still change between now and then.
The current design plan is to widen Berckmans Road to three lanes from Wheeler to Washington roads. That would create the good north-south connection between Riverwatch and west Augusta that traffic designers have been wanting for so long.
“We still have a concept that we will revise,” Assistant Director of Traffic Engineering Steve Cassell said. “We met with some property owners and we may be doing some adjustments with the alignment.”
Because so much is still unsettled, no detailed designs have yet been drawn, though there have been plenty of preliminary drawings for people to comment on.
And comment they have. Public opinion has reached both ends of the spectrum, and Cassell said all both responses will be taken into consideration when the project begins in earnest.
Though opinions have been wide ranging, Cassell said there is a lot of support for the project. In spite of that support, he recognized that there are still plenty of concerns. Many homes will be affected, and a petition created back in October had collected over 300 names at this time, though there was no update on the current amount of names collected or how the petition might affect the project.
A public forum through the Augusta government website is open for any comments, and there may still be plans for another public meeting.
“We will probably hold a public meeting sometime down the line, but nothing is scheduled,” Cassell said.
A wider road isn’t the only idea wrapped up with the project. Adding a roundabout to help with traffic flow is also in the talks.
“They are good for fluctuating traffic, and the real benefit is the safety,” said Cassell.
The addition of a roundabout would help create a continuous flow of traffic rather than the constant stop and go due to traffic signals. Studies suggest that it would also lower the rate and severity of traffic accidents.
No decision has yet to be made.
The funding for the project — around $20 million altogether — comes from TSPLOST, the one percent sales tax that was applied for, voted on and passed back in July. All the funding for this project will come from this tax
With a few more years until the construction begins, plenty of time exists for more changes. If all goes as currently planned, however, construction should be completed within 18 months to two years, making for a 2018 complete date. You Might Also Like: