Work Set to Begin at N.C. 2, N.C. 5
State highway engineers are urging drivers to change their travel habits when work begins Monday to improve the intersection of N.C. 2 and N.C. 5 in Pinehurst.
Improvements include adding turn lanes in all four directions, adding utility poles and grading work.
"When the work gets hopping, there will be lane closures every day," said Ron Van Cleef, an engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT). "It will be in everybody's best interest to take another route. If you have to come through there, then drive safe and be careful."
The state has contracted with Triangle Grading of Burlington to do the work for a cost of $396,060. It is expected be completed in mid-October at the latest.
"We are hoping, if all goes as planned, to be done by late August or September," Van Cleef said.
The problem with the intersection is the traffic tie-ups caused by drivers attempting left turns, Van Cleef said.
"The main problem is people traveling south trying to turn left, and the traffic backs up," Van Cleef said. "The turn lanes will allow for better traffic flow and minimize delays."
Van Cleef said the work will not require road closures. However, he said there will be road closures when the railroad bridge over N.C. 5 is repaired and painted. That project, which is expected to take a week to complete, likely will begin around April 28.
During that time, the northbound and southbound lanes of N.C. 5 will be closed near the bridge. Traffic will be allowed to go east and west, but no traffic will be allowed under the bridge.
Pinehurst Police Capt. Floyd Thomas said NCDOT has not requested increased patrols or officers for traffic control.
"We're not planning on putting anybody extra out there," Thomas said. "But as time goes by, that could change."
The work will take place during the peak golf season for Pinehurst Resort.
Janeen Driscoll, public relations director for the resort, said work could have an impact of the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Kids Golf Championship and the Jimmy V. Celebrity golf tournament, which are all scheduled this summer.
"We'll get through it because we have to," Driscoll said.
Driscoll said the resort has notified staff, guests and members of possible delays.
"Those people who have direct contact with guests play a vital role to make sure the impact is lessened," Driscoll said.
Resort transportation routes will be altered to get guests to their destinations as safely and promptly as possible, she added.
The improvements to the intersection were first paired with another DOT project, the controversial roundabout at N.C. 2 and Carolina Vista.
The roundabout project has been delayed by a legal battle. The litigation centers around whether or not an NCDOT project needs a certificate of appropriateness (COA) from the local Historic Preservation Committee. The village of Pinehurst believes that it does not. It contends that a COA issued by the State Historical Society supersedes the local board. Attorneys for Concerned Citizens of Pinehurst argue that the local commission should issue a COA. The group contends that the roundabout would harm the historic nature of that area and should not be permitted.
In October, the Board of Adjustment ruled in favor of the village and dismissed an appeal by Concerned Citizens. That decision was appealed to Superior Court. In March, a Superior Court Judge upheld the Pinehurst Board of Adjustment's decision. Attorneys for Concerned Citizens are still within the 30-day window to contest that ruling with the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Despite the contentiousness surrounding the roundabout, Van Cleef said the work that will begin next week is the more important project.
"The biggest backups are there on (N.C.) 2 and (N.C.) 5," Van Cleef said. "That's why we elected to set aside the roundabout and let everyone work things out.
"Who knows? If this (project) alleviates all the congestion up there, then they may just put it (roundabout) off indefinitely."
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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