WINTON – Anyone using the western end of Hertford County High School road will attest to the fact that navigation is treacherous.
That two-lane strip of asphalt, the portion adjacent to the high school to the intersection near Bearfield Primary School, is riddled with potholes. Some are minor blemishes in the roadway, while others are deep and wide….capable of causing damage to a vehicle’s wheels and/or undercarriage.
The Hertford County Board of Commissioners addressed the issues with that roadway during their regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 3. That came after Hertford County Schools Superintendent Dr. William Wright Jr. informed the commissioners of a meeting that school officials conducted in early December with representatives of North Carolina DOT and Town of Ahoskie leaders.
“Most all of us, at one time or the other, travel on Hertford County High School Road,” Wright said. “That road has some problems that need to be addressed.”
Wright went on to say that over the Christmas break, soft asphalt was applied to the major potholes, but stressed that was only a temporary fix.
“We’re not losing tires or front ends for the present moment, but the ultimate fix requires a pretty major repair project on that road,” he noted. “That road needs to be torn up and reconstructed.”
The issue of repairing HCHS Road has been previously discussed by several governmental entities, to include the county commissioners, school board, and Ahoskie Town Council. While it’s a know fact that the portion of the road in question is on county property within the corporate limits of Ahoskie, who is responsible for footing the bill to make repairs?
Wright said he found the answer within North Carolina General Statues. He cited 136-18 (17) which states that NCDOT is “authorized and required to maintain and keep in repair roads leading from state maintained public roads to all public schools and public school buildings to which children are transported on public school buses to and from their home.”
The western end of HCHS Road has several driveway access points to the high school, to include an area where school buses load and unload students.
Wright said the school board has sent a letter to the District One DOT Director requesting repairs on the road by the state. He asked the county commissioners to approve a resolution that will be forwarded to NCDOT in Raleigh, which would be a formal request for the same repair work.
The commissioners approved the resolution without objection. A portion of that resolution asks the state to take ownership of that road in conjunction with the Town of Ahoskie.
Following the vote, Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer said he has received several complaints from county citizens about the deplorable condition of HCHS Road.
“This has been an ongoing issue for quite some time,” Farmer said. “It’s been going around and around about who’s responsible for fixing that road.
“I think this is a move in the right direction,” Farmer added, citing the state statute.