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DOT Hopes to Make Fans' "Drive" To U.S. Open Easier in Pinehurst

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PINEHURST — The U.S. Open and thousands of golf fans converge on the village of Pinehurst in Moore County in two months. DOT engineers think they have a partial solution to one of the area's biggest bottlenecks.

The Pinehurst traffic circle has been redesigned, widened, re-painted and re-paved. DOT engineers think it will be for the best.

It is a sign of the times, literally, in Pinehurst. The quaint, little village now has big, new road signs leading up to its newly redesigned crossroad, the Pinehurst traffic circle.

Some residents have fought having such a large set of signs, actually delaying the project five months.

Dr. Vann Austin, a 27-year resident says it is okay with him.

"I don't mind the signs. I think it looks fine," said Austin.

DOT engineers have put additional lanes approaching the circle in what they believe will be a better method of getting people through it.

"We anticipate this is going to help the flow of traffic tremendously. There have been some backups in the area that everybody has experienced," said DOT engineer Fred Sykes.

DOT engineers admit it may not solve all of the traffic circle problems especially when there are 40,000 people a day there during the U.S. Open.

Austin says that while the reworking of the circle is impressive, he remains skeptical about how well it will hold up during the tournament. He has made other plans for that big week of golf.

"Everyone knows that when the U.S. Open is here, it is time to go to Costa Rica. That's what I'm doing," said Austin.

Tournament officials hope that most people will not actually get to see the traffic circle.

They are going to have two parking lots set up that will be located four miles outside of Pinehurst with shuttle buses taking fans to and from the tournament.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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