Augusta National Provides Loan For Berckmans Road Realignment - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Augusta National Provides Loan For Berckmans Road Realignment

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Augusta, GA -

Berckmans Road will be sold to Augusta National Golf Club and then in 2014 it will be re-aligned with Alexander Drive. It's a project that has been rumored since 1997, but now it's one step closer to reality after Augusta commissioners approved the project.

Construction was scheduled to start in 2016, but Augusta National Golf Club is offering the city an interest free loan to make it happen before The Masters in 2016.

Berckmans Road currently sits next to Augusta National Golf Club, but that will change as the city moves forward with plans to re-align the road with Alexander Drive. Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell says Augusta National Golf Club is helping the city out with 16 million dollars to meet a construction deadline.

"Because we don't have any funding for that, then their suggestion was that they would loan us the money to do that portion and then we could pay them back over 4 years, once phase 2 starts," Cassell said.

Stephen Douglas has lived off Berckmans Road for 17 years now.. and during that time, he has been wondering when this project was going to happen.

"They really haven't let us know that they finalized anything until now so I'm really relieved to find out that it's not going through my front yard and it's going to be out that way," Douglas said.

Although it won't touch his property, the New Berckmans Road will end up across the street from Douglas' house. It will start at Heath Drive, cut through the parking lot for The Masters and connect with Stanley Drive. Some homeowners who still live on Stanley Drive have concerns about traffic and land acquisition, but Cassell says the city won't need much land from them to make it happen. Meanwhile, Douglas has seen a lot of changes near his home over the years, but this is one change he still isn't sure about.

"Well, I like it the way it is, but what the National wants the National is going to get. And we are all happy to be apart of it, you know? We love the National and The Masters so glad to see it happen," Douglas said.

The new Berckmans Road will be widened to three lanes and it will also have 3 tunnels underneath it for pedestrians to safely cross the street. Construction could begin late next year.

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