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Board rejects pricey ‘driveway’

WINDSOR – Griffin’s Quarter Road will likely remain on the list of unpaved roads in Bertie County.

Calling the $500,000 expenditure too much for a “driveway,” the Bertie County Commissioners on Monday night rejected the proposal of the North Carolina Department of Transportation to pave the road as part of the Secondary Roads Construction Program.

When Acting Division Engineer Jerry Jennings presented the program, he was asked how many houses were on the road and said there was one at the end of Griffin’s Quarter Road.

“That’s basically a $500,000 driveway,” said Commissioner J. Wallace Perry.

Jennings said the road was the only one in the county that wasn’t paved which the state had right-of-way clearance for.

After discussing the matter further, Commissioner Rick Harrell said he didn’t believe there was enough traffic on the road to support spending half a million dollars to pave it.

Commissioners Perry and Charles W. Smith agreed.

Board Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard said he couldn’t see why the state would spend $500,000 on Griffin’s Quarter Road, but not accept Cypress Lane. He said he knew it didn’t meet state requirements, but felt there was much more traffic on that street and it needed work first.

“I certainly understand, but there is nothing we can do as the General Statutes are currently written,” Jennings said.

Commission Chairman Norman Cherry said he felt the Secondary Roads Program as a whole was supported by the board, but not the paving of Griffin’s Quarter Road.

The board agreed to hold the necessary public hearing to remove the road from the current program.

The board did agree to plans to upgrade Baker Street from U.S. 13 to the end and Watson Lane from S.R. 1260 to the end. Each will cost $25,000 in the current budget year.

Paved road improvements for the project include Williford Road and Bull Hill Road as well as various pipe replacements and specific maintenance functions. Williford Road will be widened, strengthened and have shoulder reconstruction from the Hertford County line to S.R. 1235. Bull Hill Road will be resealed and have shoulder reconstruction from S.R. 1300 to S.R. 1304.

If Griffin’s Quarter Road is removed from the project, Jennings said it was likely DOT could complete the paved road improvements that were designated as alternates.

DOT officials said the alternate list could be completed with the $500,000 moved from Griffin’s Quarter Road and money that had yet to be designated.

The roads on the alternate list include Jeff White Road, Jack Branch Road, Earley Station Road and Medson Lee Road. The Jeff White Road will see pipe replacements, widening, strengthening and shoulder reconstruction while Jack Branch will be widened, resealed and have shoulder reconstruction.

On Earley Station Road, DOT will remove the existing pipe and replace it with a box culvert as well as raise the road grade at Beaverdam Swamp. Medson Lee Road will be leveled, strengthened and upgraded from N.C. 305 to the end.