AUGUSTA, Ga. – Survey results seem to reveal drivers’ love-hate relationship with Augusta’s main thoroughfare.
As part of a study looking at Columbia County’s development patterns, hundreds of the county’s residents were asked to name the roads they prefer to use the most and least.
An almost identical number of people answered both questions with the same answer.
“Interestingly, 49% of people responding said they prefer to travel Washington Road and 49% stated that they avoid it,” according to Columbia County’s Vision 2035 comprehensive plan. The county has compiled Vision plans for many years to provide informed guidance on the direction and scope of county growth.
Columbia County commissioners received an updated version of the plan at their meeting March 30.
Respondents could give more than one answer to each question, so the question “Are there any roads that you avoid?” received several runners-up to Washington Road. As Columbia County’s population quadrupled over the past 40 years, the resulting rise in traffic has placed more demands on the county’s road network.
After Washington Road, the least-preferred routes for Columbia County motorists were Flowing Wells Road, from 38.75% of respondents; Gordon Highway, 38.33%; Lewiston Road, 36.67%; Hereford Farm Road, 27.92%; and Belair Road 24.58%.
When asked, “Are there any corridors that you prefer to travel?” 76.1% of respondents ranked River Watch Parkway. The Columbia County extension of the parkway, completed in 2018, stretches more than three miles. It widened the former Old Petersburg Road, and what used to be part of Old Evans Road to four lanes. River Watch Parkway now connects downtown Augusta to Washington Road’s intersection with Towne Center Drive in Evans.
The River Watch extension was the first major Columbia County road project completed under the 2012 Transportation Investment Act.
The survey was part of a series of open-house development pattern workshops Columbia County conducted last summer.
When the first two events drew only about two-dozen to three-dozen people, organizers concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic was hindering in-person participation. The third event was conducted virtually, and 399 people responded to dozens of questions when provided with an online link to the survey.
Regarding Washington Road, 116 people said they preferred it and 118 people said they avoid it.