Drivers on Midland Road will need to slow down starting July 18.
N.C. Department of Transportation will lower the speed limit along a 2.5-mile section of the road between U.S. 1 and Windmere Road from 45 mph to 35 mph. Part of the iconic route already has a 35 mph speed limit, so the change will make the speed limit the same throughout the corridor.
The reduction is consistent with the findings in last summer’s Midland Road Corridor Study, which outlined several recommendations for improving the road’s safety and traffic flow. The N.C. Department of Transportation will make the improvements in the coming years as projects in the study become funded.
The village of Pinehurst and the town of Southern Pines support the speed reduction and have endorsed the corridor study’s final report. The study involved extensive public input, which included calls for a reduced speed limit for safety.
“Almost half the crashes on this road involve injuries,” said Brandon Jones, the department’s Division 8 Engineer. “So, this is one of many steps we are planning to take to make this popular corridor safer for the public.”
Engineers, planners and other officials evaluated 4.5 miles of the tree-lined road between the Pinehurst Traffic Circle and Clark Street in Southern Pines to identify ways to reduce the severity of crashes and ease congestion during rush hour. At its busiest point near the U.S. 1 interchange, 14,000 vehicles on average use Midland Road each day.
The improvements sought in the study include closing 61 of 77 median crossings and upgrading 14 intersections. The study concluded the existence of so many median crossings makes vehicle access unpredictable, leading to collisions, particularly angled ones that are the most dangerous.