AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) —- There was major traffic snarl in West Augusta Friday. Wrightsboro Road was shut down near the Augusta Mall while crews worked to repair a ruptured gas line.
It took them nearly eight hours to reopen Wrightsboro. That rupture happened while road crews were working on that road. And several store managers in the area say their business was affected by the leak.
“They started this around 10 AM,” said a Vision Works employee, Airelle Richards. “And we had a gas leak because they bust the pipe. “We’ve have been smelling the gas all day. It just slowed down since they finishing, but the smell has been really strong.”
“We smelled it, and we walked outside, and they told us it was a gas leak,” said Richards. “That’s when they have been drilling in the hole in the street, to fix the gas leak.”
Wrightsboro was down to one lane, as road crews worked to repair the broken gas line. And traffic wasn’t the only problem. Several nearby businesses say it hurts their bottom line.
“We had a lot of appointments that we’re late today because the traffic was backed up,” explained Richards. “They had to go around to the next exit down because this exit was blocked off. The business has been pretty slow because of the traffic being blocked off.”
Devin Johnson: Has it been hard for you guys to get in and out?
Airelle Richards: “I know they are doing the construction. I see they are trying to move traffic, but like I said we have been kind of slow; we can’t get any business. As far as nobody can get in.”
Vehicles were re-routed to Bobby Jones Expressway.
“We have to go the back way through the mall to get out of here,” said Richards. “We can’t get out this way at all. So most of our employees leave this way. Now we have to go the back way.
Devin Johnson: When you asked them what was going, did they tell you it’s going to be a few hours?
Airelle Richards: “We don’t know anything. What we see is all we see. They haven’t told us anything, as far as what is going on.”
Richards told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson the gas leak made it even more of a headache for drivers during rush hour.
Devin Johnson: This is the time when people like to come to the mall…..
Airelle Richards: “The best way to get here? Is the back way; Gordon Hwy, and Wylds Rd. Don’t come to Wrightsboro Rd at all. There is no way you can even get off the ramps. It’s blocked off.”
The gas leak is cleaned up and covered. Both lanes of Wrightsboro Road are back open.
Augusta, GA (WJBF) Commuters and mall shoppers will need to find a different route around the Bobby Jones at Wrightsboro Road interchange due to a gas leak. According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the leak happened in the area of Wrightsboro Road in front of Kroger and the Augusta Mall.
Eastbound Wrightsboro Road between Bobby Jones and Marks Church Road is completely blocked. The Westbound direction between Marks Church and Bobby Jones is down to one lane. You can see the ramp closure from the WJBF NewsChannel 6 Skyview Network camera here.
Both exit ramps off of Bobby Jones Expressway are closed at Wrightsboro Road. According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, these road and ramp closures could be in place for a few hours.
Officials ask you to please be patient and plan your outings to avoid this area and expect heavy traffic and detours as the long holiday weekend begins.