VASS, N.C. — In 1999, the main road to the U.S. Open golf tournament, U.S. Highway 1, was a cramped two-lane highway that many motorists called a double bogey of an access route. The state Department of Transportation is hustling to change that.
Work started in February on the proposed Vass bypass. Crews are building a new four-lane highway just east of Vass, along 13 miles of U.S. 1. Once the 13 miles are upgraded, the four lanes will extend from Rockingham to Raleigh.
"I think it'll be fine once they get through with it. "Right now, it's just a mess with all the construction congestion and the big trucks and all," garage owner Earl Combs said. "Well, it don't bother me. I keep working anyway."
DOT officials said the bypass is not just a project to help golf tournaments.
"It's probably going to cut anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes off of everyone's drive just going through this area," DOT engineer Ron Van Cleef said.
However, the golf big tournament is being used as a huge incentive. Wooten Construction gets $1 million bonus from the state if the new road is ready by tournament tee-off time in June 2005.
DOT officials said bad weather pushed the project behind schedule, but they still plan to wrap it up by June 10, 2005. The U.S. Open is set for June 13.