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Co-owner of private roads cited for not fixing potholes

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Feb 28 2013 07:35:05 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 10:42:40 PM CST
CHOCOWINITY, BEAUFORT COUNTY -

A family in Beaufort County has 14 days to improve the roads in the Harris Acres neighborhood, or they may be headed to court.  That's according to Emergency Management's John Pack.

Neighbors we talked with say the giant potholes along Mary Street and others in the neighborhood are a nightmare to drive through and when it rains, the roads are basically impassable.  The neighborhood is situated right off U.S. 17.  They said the roads are only scraped twice a month, at most, and that's not enough.

"Driving up here is terrible," resident Penny Stokes said.

"Sometimes potholes are like a foot deep," Jeffery Campbell said.

Campbell lives on the main street with his dad and says these roads have been a problem for as long as he can remember.

"It makes no sense in people having to drive down in the ditches to keep from tearing up their cars.  I mean it's ridiculous," Campbell said.

In fact, a Chocowinity ambulance recently had trouble getting into the neighborhood.

"We have had situations where it took 22 minutes from the time we left Highway 17 to get into a house and get the people back out, and we have had damage sustained to two ambulances," Pack said.

Campbell says he witnessed the incident.

"I stood out here and watched them. They had to go on the edge of the road to keep from beating the ambulance. Then, when they went out, the ambulance was totally bouncing and it's got air shocks if I'm not mistaken. And it was bouncing the ambulance down like that," he said.

However, it's not up to the D.O.T. to fix the roads.  It's up to the Harris family, which owns the roads.

The county says they have been trying to work with the Harris family for quite some time; however, with so many complaints on the condition of the roads and not enough improvement shown, the county had to issue a fire code violation on Wednesday.

Susan Harris co-owns the roads.  She did not want to speak about the citation.  She would only say that her lawyer advised her not to talk to us. She did, however, have someone out scraping the roads as we were leaving the neighborhood.

"We will be monitoring it almost on a daily basis to see how the progress is going," Pack said.

If Harris does not have the roads up to par for both ambulances and fire trucks to pass through, the county says they plans to take her to court.