HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — On September 6, 1996, Hurricane Fran blew across the state, killing 22 people and causing more than $6 billion worth of damage. One Holly Springs neighborhood has waited nearly eight years for repairs.
DOT contractors are digging up dirt in the middle of Lockley Road. For residents, the road used to be an easy way to get to church or out of the neighborhood until 1996. Hurricane Fran flooded a stream and burst the inadequate 16-inch pipe under the road that cut it in half and left the neighborhood divided.
Now, almost eight years later, Lockley Road is finally being reconnected, but resident Carlyle Hinton wonders why it took so long.
"They could have had that road fix had they wanted to," he said.
However, it was not that simple. Lockley Road is maintained by the state except for the crossing over the stream.
"The DOT didn't maintain that middle section, so it wasn't our responsibility to fix it," DOT engineer Brandon Jones said.
It was not until three years ago when Holly Springs annexed the neighborhood that Mayor Dick Sears got the wheels in motion. Sears went to the state and got DOT to spend $50,000 on the project, which includes a pipe four times the original size. In return, the town will start maintaining the road.
Long-time residents are just happy to see it done.
"I'm glad. I tell you I'm very proud," Hinton said.
The project should be finished by the end of next week. They are planning a ribbon-cutting and bike ride across the bridge to celebrate.