Local News

Dangerous Johnston road getting upgrades after recent washout

Posted September 11, 2020 7:34 p.m. EDT

— Heavy rains last month washed out roads in Johnston County that are vital life lines for emergency workers and residents.

"It is very inconvenient," Dennis Ledford said of having Old Fairground Road, east of Angier, knocked out.

Flash flooding nearly two weeks ago washed the road out and damaged the culvert below.

"For Johnston County, this was a like a [Hurricane] Florence event," said Andrew Barksdale, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

Close to a dozen roads were closed across the county after flooding from heavy downpours, Barksdale said. Old Fairground Road is one of seven that still need to be fixed.

With the road closed, getting to town takes a lot longer, Ledford said. In an emergency, it could be much worse.

"The police department, fire department, rescue squad [all need the road]," he said. "It’s a big problem."

DOT crews have surveyed the site and decided they will install larger pipes below, Barksdale said. Repairs are expected to start next week and could be done as soon as next Friday, he said.

"That will help," he said, "have better water flow underneath it in the future."

The DOT has had its eye on Old Fairground Road for a while. Last year, agency officials called it one of the highest-risk country corridors in the Triangle because of its twists, dips and narrow shoulders that make it dangerous to travel.

Barksdale said crews have been working on those problems as well by adding improved markings.

"The center line and lines on the sides [now have] a more higher-visibility paint that is more easily seen at night," he said.

All Johnston County Roads damaged by the recent storms should be back open later this month, he said.

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