RALEIGH -As the U.S. Open Men's Championship swings into Pinehurst next week, crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation are busy putting the finishing touches on transportation improvements throughout Moore County.
"We're proud to be part of the team preparing North Carolina to host this landmark event," said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. "The work we've done will not only make it easier and safer for visitors to travel to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open, but it will also benefit local residents and commuters long after the tournaments are over."
NCDOT completed several roadway improvement projects in advance of the U.S. Open, which is expected to bring 350,000 people to Moore County and generate up to $170 million in economic benefits for the region June 9-21.
The projects include:- Widening N.C. 211 from two lanes to four lanes from the traffic circle in Pinehurst to West End to reduce congestion and improve mobility; and - Replacing a 67-year-old bridge on U.S. 15/501 over the CSX Railroad in Aberdeen with a new bridge built to modern design standards.
NCDOT played an important role in improvements at the Moore County Airport, as well. With the department's help, the facility added 28,000 square yards of ramp space and extended the runwayto 6,500 feet.
"We're expecting 2,000 to 4,000 airplanes, ranging from small single- engine airplanes to corporate jets, to land at our airport during the tournaments," said Moore County Airport Executive Director Steve Borden. "These upgrades will help serve the visitors' travel needs while better positioning us as a travel and tourism conduit in the future."
Even the road leading from the airport into town is event ready. The local NCDOT office planted flowers along the route to help it truly serve as a gateway to all the area has to offer.
Outside of Moore County, NCDOT crews installed special directional signs at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Piedmont Triad International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where many out-of-state visitors will fly in. The signs point travelers towards Pinehurst, where the tournaments will take place on the famed No. 2 course. After the U.S. Open concludes, the state will use the signs to guide drivers toward local tourist attractions.
NCDOT highlights these projects in this new video.
The department started planning these transportation improvements with the United States Golf Association and Moore County in 2007, the year the USGA announced it would bring both the Men's and Women's U.S. Open championships to Pinehurst on back-to-back weeks.
"Through years of collaborative work, we were able to address the infrastructure needs of this event and the surrounding community at the same time," said NCDOT Division 8 Engineer Rob Stone. "We are excited for everyone to experience the benefits of our hard work."
Watch the video to learn more about the key role North Carolina's transportation network will play in connecting people and products with the U.S. Open championships.