Laurinburg could be included in a cross-country bicycle route, if the federal government approves a request to realign
U.S. Bicycle Route 1.
Local officials say the change could enhance tourism in the city.
The state Department of Transportation has requested the realignment from Interstate 74-US 74 to inside the city of Laurinburg. The Special Committee on US Route Numbering is expected to make the final decision.
City Manager Ed Burchins said the change will help riders avoid a busy interstate roadway.
“There was a conflict with 74,” Burchins said. “There was a concern about the amount of traffic and restricted access. They were looking for quieter roads where there was not too much traffic and people could get off the road and take a break if they wanted to.”
The new route would stretch about 9.7 miles and include Sneads Grove Road, King Street, Wilkerson Drive, Church Street, Turnpike Road, X-Way Road and Old Stage Road.
Designated in 1982, the route currently is a north to south route through North Carolina starting at the Virgina border and ending at the South Carolina border at Old Stage Road in Scotland County.
“This new route will really get us on the map,” Burchins said. “Before, it was a pretty good distance outside of Laurinburg. Now it will go through the city.”
Burchins said the change should have a positive effect on tourism.
The last couple of years, there have been several long-distance biking events sponsored here and with the trail basically running all the way through North Carolina, it will add to that,” he said. “It will great for our tourism-related businesses.”
The DOT is expected to ask for a second alignment for the route in Wake County. That change is proposed to avoid heavy volumes of traffic and the limited access near Raleigh/Durham International Airport, according to Paul Morris, deputy transit secretary.
Morris said the route instead will traverse roads away from RDU and go through William B. Umstead State Park. This realignment is for 13.7 miles.
U.S. Bike Route 1 is expected to run the length of the United States eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine. It is one of the two original U.S. Bicycle Routes, the other being U.S. Bicycle Route 76.