DOT Getting Geared Up for 211 Work

Road signs near the future construction area for the widening of HWY 211. Maggie Beamguard/Seven Lakes Insider

By Maggie Beamguard

Insider Editor

For the first part of June, all eyes were on Pinehurst as golf legends and their fans flocked to No. 2 for the U.S. Open by plane, train and automobile. With Bryson DeChambeau securing the title with that final putt on June 18, focus now turns to another fareway in the county. N.C. 211.

Construction of a roughly 4.8 mile section of N.C. 211 between N.C. 73 and Holly Grove School Road has been on hold until the 124th U.S. Open wrapped in June. 

Matt Kitchen, an assistant division maintenance engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation and Seven Lakes resident, provided a project update to the Seven Lakes Kiwanis Club at Its June 4 meeting.

The long-anticipated project aims to improve safety and mobility and handle future growth and traffic volumes. Approximately 15,000 vehicles travel this section of road each day, but by 2040, the N.C. DOT anticipates that number will increase between 21,000 to 23,000. 

“There is a definite need for this roadway,” said Kitchen. “For those of us who live out here, we can appreciate that. There will be growing pains, but in the end I think it is going to be something we’re all proud of, and it’s going to make a big difference.”

Clearing and grubbing to make way for the road, which will be widened by two lanes, was completed last year. Utility work is being finalized and most of the utilities have been relocated.

With the preparation work largely out of the way, Kitchen anticipates that the project will be put out to bid in August or September.

“It’s roughly going to be a three-year time frame for construction,” said Kitchen. “Our estimated completion date right now is in the fall 2027 to finish all the work.”

The three-year construction will include the placement of a sewer transmission line from one end of the project to the other. “We’re going to cap each end because there is still no determination of when that sewer line might become active,” Kitchen said.

The price tag of the taxable construction costs will run $49 million, bringing the total of the project to about $75 million. “That’s quite an investment,” Kitchen said.

The look of the stretch of highway will mimic what was completed in 2014 from N.C. 73 east toward Pinehurst. There will be a divided four-lane road with some full-access intersections and several areas with U-turn bulbs. Love Grove Church Road will remain a full access intersection, as will Seven Lakes Drive and N.C. 73. 

Traffic patterns will change. Seven Lakes Drive will open into three lanes with a dedicated left turn lane, a center through-lane and a dedicated right turn lane.

After grabbing a sausage biscuit for breakfast at McDonalds, you will either backtrack through the Seven Lakes business community or you will turn right onto N.C. 211 and utilize a U-turn area near Dead Man Curve Road to return east. 

There will be a left-turn lane to access the U.S. Post Office from N.C. 211, but when you leave the Post Office you will only be able to turn right.

The use of U-turn bulbs will increase efficiency through the whole corridor, according to Kitchen.

Kitchen took questions from the Kiawnians who asked about how West End Elementary School would be impacted, potential increased traffic through the Seven Lakes Business Center and drainage impacts.

The widened road will be considerably closer to the front of WEE, but during school hours there will be a reduced speed limit. “The road will move closer to the school,” Kitchen said, “But the addition of a curb and gutter adds that extra barrier.” It is safer than the current open shoulder, he said. 

There will be a little more left-turn lane onto Love Grove Church road, which will help school traffic with slightly more efficiency. However, because the N.C. DOT does not build capacity on highways to store vehicles in areas where car rider lines gather, the functional capacity issues during the 30-minute window before and after school won’t be fully resolved.

“With so many parents driving kids now, there’s not enough queuing on school property to handle larger traffic volume,” Kitchen said. “It’s not just West End. Every school in the state has functional capacity problems.”

Because the business center roads are private roads, the N.C. DOT does not assume any responsibility for them or additional wear and tear that may occur with increased cut-throughs during construction. 

Drainage for any project like this is carefully studied. From the standpoint of hydraulics, we can’t legally change the course of water,” Kitchen said. ‘Really it all drains to where it currently drains now.” 

Much of the runoff will continue to flow behind the school and Seven Lakes Hardware. “We may upsize the piping, and we may do some retention to help hold some of the water back,” Kitchen said. “But all of our water on 211, now instead of running on the shoulder, will now be collected in catch basins.”

The project will consist of primarily daytime construction, with some possible nighttime work. According to Kitchen, it is mandated that traffic flow be maintained at all times, and there are no planned detours.

“You will be able to get through it,” he said. “It may not be pretty. It may take you a little bit extra time, but be patient.”

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