Residents pleased road project won’t impact cemetery in the Outer Banks

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) – Plans to improve a narrow, curvy road in the Outer Banks are moving forward, and residents are pleased the project won’t impact a local cemetery.

“We’re very happy the noise that we made, the contacts that we made, really have paid off for us,” said Kim Parker.

10 On Your Side told you in March that Parker’s family was upset after finding survey stakes at a local cemetery.

Parker’s sister-in-law, Kim Murray, found one of the stakes right alongside her late husband’s grave.

“It’s just wrong,” Murray had told us.

10 On Your Side learned that the stakes related to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Colington Road project.

NCDOT officials had told 10 On Your Side that it was their goal to avoid the cemetery, and that the survey stakes were used to collect data.

During a town hall meeting Thursday, officials confirmed that the latest proposal does not touch the cemetery land.

“I’m happy to say that we won’t have any impact on the cemetery, or the retaining wall for the front of the cemetery, so that worked out quite well,” said Gary Lovering, Project Manager.

“That is a big, big relief,” Parker said.

Murray, who couldn’t attend the meeting but spoke to 10 On Your Side on the phone, echoed that sentiment.

Parker said she felt that NCDOT officials had listened to the citizens’ concerns and continued to during Thursday’s meeting.

“We appreciate that,” she said, but added, “there’s still a lot of people that don’t want anything at all.”

At its core, the Colington Road project is meant to make the windy stretch safer.

The work was launched after citizens requested the improvements; a Facebook page titled “Colington Road needs a multi use path” gained hundreds of followers.

The project proposal as it stands now involves a 4.3 mile stretch of the road. Parts of it will be widened for a bike path. Other parts will be resurfaced or raised to reduce flooding. Some curves will be flattened.

“I think it’s positive,” Lovering said. “I hope most of the citizens see that too.”

Some people at the meeting raised concerns over property impacts. NCDOT officials said at this point, three homes or businesses will likely be relocated.

Comments received during Thursday’s meeting will be reviewed. Tweaks to the proposal may be made depending on the suggestions, officials said.

Construction is expected to begin towards the end of 2018, possibly the start of 2019.

The estimated cost is $16.7 million.