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Officials: Washed-Out Road Must Be Rebuilt

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LOUISBURG, N.C. — Nearly three months after Tropical Storm Alberto washed out their road, Franklin County residents are demanding repairs.

Floodwaters washed out River Road just west of Louisburg in June. On Tuesday night, a community meeting was held to discuss why work hasn't been done. Nearly 200 people demanded to know when the gaping hole in the road would be fixed.

The broken bridge is a major roadblock and a major headache for farmer Ronny Beckham.

"If I want to get to any of my farms that I tend on this road, I have to drive 14 miles out of the way everyday," said Beckham.

River Road is one of the only roads between Franklinton and Louisburg. Three months have passed, but there have been no repairs.

"It's real important to a whole lot of people, a whole lot more people than you would think," said Beckham.

State Rep. Lucy Allen and state Sen. Doug Berger, along with a North Carolina Department of Transportation official, had answers for the concerned citizens, but not the ones the crowd wanted to hear. Officials said that after surveying the damage, it was determined a brand new bridge needs to be built, and it won't be finished until next spring.

"It's like building a house," said Wally Bowman with the DOT. "You have to get your permits, you have to get your designs and you've got various subcontractors before you build a house."

The construction promises to be a long road. But that's something Beckman has gotten used to traveling and will continue to until the crumbling road is fixed.

Initially, there was concern that endangered species in the area would slow the project, but a survey showed there were no endangered species. The DOT said it will soon begin design work on the 60-foot span and then put the project out for bid.


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