DOT Hustles To Finish Road Project Before U.S. Open

Posted November 19, 2004 4:38 a.m. EST

— When the 1999 U.S. Open was played in Pinehurst, North Carolina burst onto the international sports scene. However, some claim U.S. 1, one of the main roads used to get to the tournament, is a cramped two-lane highway that puts drivers in the rough.

The state Department of Transportation is working to widen U.S. 1 for 13 miles between Vass and Sanford before the U.S. Open comes back in June 2005.

Engineers admit they will be cutting it close to finish on time. The state said it will need some help, in the form of good weather, to finish on time, but there is also a financial incentive. The DOT has promised S.T. Wooten contractors $1 million if they finish on time.

"They say from just above Aberdeen to Sanford, it is going to be a straight shot. Instead of a 45-minute driver, it's going to be like a 30-minute drive," driver Greg Guy said.

The new road is expected to be good for golf and travelers, but it could be bad for businesses in the area. Less traffic means fewer customers in the area.

"Usually, bypasses hurt the commercial things, you know, because the traffic is not going through any more," driver Jim Sabre said.

The contractor hopes to have U.S. 1 finished by June 10, just in time for the U.S. Open.