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(Pinehurst) – New, ornamental trees will soon decorate two heavily traveled roadways near the Pinehurst Traffic Circle.

A N.C. Department of Transportation contractor will replace the diseased autumn flowering cherry trees along U.S. 15-501 south of the iconic traffic circle with Natchez crepe myrtles.

The contractor, Triad Land Solutions Inc. of Burlington, also will plant Muskogee crepe myrtles and Foster holly trees on N.C. 211 west of the traffic circle. In all, about 130 trees will be planted in the two roadway medians.

The cherry trees were installed in 1999, just before the U.S. Open was held at Pinehurst Course No. 2.
“They have outlived their useful life,” said Mark Thompson, the roadside environmental engineer for the department’s Division 8 based in Carthage. “They have become diseased, and are slowly dying. We’ve lost several over the years.”

The department wants to put the new trees into the ground to give them time to mature before the U.S. Open golf tournament returns to Pinehurst in 2024. The new varieties will be more hardy and bloom from late spring into summer. The hollies are evergreens.

The department awarded the $85,772 contract this month. It is using a federal beautification enhancement grant for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March.

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