Pinehurst Council considering alternatives to traffic circle reconstruction

The Pinehurst Village Council met Tuesday afternoon.

One topic of discussion was revisions to the Pinehurst traffic circle.

The circle was designed in 1956. It is a 600-foot circle with a 30-mph speed limit. It was considered state-of-the-art transportation engineering at the time, but engineering practices and travel flow designs have undergone drastic changes. Traffic through the circle has grown consistently over the last few years, and that trend is expected to continue to grow.

Currently, the circle sees 50,000 cars daily. By 2040, best faith estimates project traffic will grow by 20 to 30%. If no changes are made, the circle could only handle 70% of the projected traffic flow, resulting in longer wait times and longer queues to enter the circle.

The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has been working on making changes since 2013. Last year, the council heard three presentations on potential revisions to the circle.

These included doing nothing, which is not really considered a revision. The second was a flyover requiring the construction of an elevated bridge connecting Highway 15-501 and Highway 211. The third alternative is called a continuous flow intersection. In this instance, the existing traffic circle would be removed and replaced with a series of intersections. It would have an increased number of traffic lights, but they would be simple two-phase lights (no turn arrows) synchronized in both directions. It is considered the most flexible of the design alternatives and should also offer a reduction in the number of crashes. Please click here to read more about this.

Image via Village of Pinehurst.

Village Manager Jeffrey Sanborn updated the council Tuesday.

Several interim modifications to the traffic circle are under consideration, including:

  1. Reducing the speed limit.
  2. Increase enforcement of the speed limit.
  3. Install rumble strips.
  4. Adding lights to control entry into the circle.

Additionally, they are still collecting data, including updating the projected 2040 traffic and population growth and the 2021 Moore County Traffic Demand Model.

There is an upcoming statewide meeting of the NCDOT in early February, and representatives of Pinehurst will be involved in that meeting.

According to Pinehurst Mayor John Strickland, many residents “feel the council is looking for less invasive options to revise the circle.”

There is also consideration of pushing the circle reconstruction past the 2029 U.S. Open. The final decision is up to NCDOT. Several council members pointed out that the council must collaborate with NCDOT to ensure that local input is considered when making a final decision.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

Photo from Village of Pinehurst.

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