For the last several years, residents on Pine Cliff Road were cut off from the rest of the Craven County because of the poor condition of the roadway.
"It had potholes approximately two feet deep," Craven County Commissioner Theron McCabe said, adding that emergency vehicles could not access residents because the road was so impassable. "There was no way to get in here to assist the people here in an emergency call. We had to close it off."
McCabe said two residents who needed dialysis could not go because a bus sent to pick them up couldn’t travel down the road.
"We have two ladies here, one who just had open heart surgery in February," he said. "She’s on a dialysis machine and her mother is also sick and it’s very hard for an ambulance to respond in here in an emergency."
That has all changed now.
Local residents and officials cut a red ribbon to dedicate an improved roadway on Friday, one that features improved drainage and four feet of gravel spread on an even crown.
"The first time I remember coming down here looking at this road was 1998, so 15 years later, here we are getting it done," said Mary Beth Houston, assistant district two engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
McCabe said the road used to be better maintained a decade ago, and when he was elected county commissioner in 2006, he became more involved in an effort to improve the road.
Located between Shadyview Beach Road and Temples Point Road in eastern Craven County, Pine Cliff Road had to get added to the state system before work could be done. Houston said that determination came in 2007.
But others steps had to take place before the road could be improved.
"There was some utility work that had to be combined with the work that DOT did, and Commissioner McCabe worked hard to get that funding in place so we could come in here and do our improvements," said Dwayne Alligood, DOT engineer.
About 300 feet of water line and three power lines had to be moved to make way for the road improvements. Beyond that, the residents had to dedicate the necessary right-of-way space free to the state.
The road was added to the state list for secondary road improvement in July of last year.
David Livingston, county maintenance engineer with DOT, said the road had severe ponding before the improvements but now it has proper drainage.
Plans call for the eventual paving of the road, but an exact date has not been set.
"There are five houses and approximately seven people that live on this road here," McCabe said. "They are very, very happy."