SPRING LAKE — Town officials said Monday night that a collapsed road that has snarled traffic since the end of January will be repaved this week.
Interim Town Manager Jason Williams said at a work session of the Spring Lake Board of Aldermen that the side of the road that collapsed at Bragg Boulevard and Chapel Hill Road will be resurfaced.
The road collapse occurred in late January because of a water line break that was worsened by ongoing rain. The N.C. Department of Transportation closed Chapel Hill Road from Bragg Boulevard to McNeil Street, leading to traffic gridlock throughout the town.
Crystal Johnson, who lives in Holly Hills near the collapsed road, asked during the public-comment period for an update since traffic on N.C. 87 has been at a standstill since the collapse.
“I want to know what responsibility the property owners have with the graveyard. I want to know who is in charge of the water that goes underneath because that property has been sinking for a long time,” said Johnson.
Mayor Kia Anthony said later that DOT is “eradicating the problem.”
“Yes, we had erosion in the pipes. It caused a small landslide and the road to cave in. DOT is there now. We don’t foresee any more streets caving in,” said Anthony.
Williams said after the meeting that two churches, Williams Chapel Free Will Baptist and Bethel AME Zion, share ownership of the cemetery.
The board also approved offering more incentives for town employees, including a student loan forgiveness program and a low-cost cellphone plan.
“Our staff works hard and have worked diligently over the past few years,” said Anthony. “And in recent years (they) have been operating on a shoestring budget and understaffed. We can’t give massive bonuses, but we can make things easier in their personal lives, so we have been looking at resources and benefits.”
Olde Fayetteville Insurance & Financial Services offers the student loan forgiveness program, which helps government employees reduce student debt at no cost to the town. Cumberland County Schools also offers the benefit to its employees.
The cellphone initiative is through T-Mobile and offers local government employees a hotspot plan with unlimited data for $35 a month.
Anthony said the programs are the only two new benefits approved, but officials are exploring more options.
Electric charging stations
The board also discussed electric vehicle charging stations and possible locations for them. Stormwater Administrator Deanna Rosario give an update on the topic.
Rosario said that if the town contracts with Charge Point, one dual Level 2 charger would cost $12,000 or, with a subscription, $2,400 for five years. Rosario also said grants are available for such projects. But the town would need to run electricity to the site and lay a concrete pad.
Board members asked Rosario to further identify funding for the electricity.
“How are we going to pay for electrification, electrifying these charge stations? We have to have electricity coming in from somewhere, and that costs money. What we could charge isn’t enough to sustain the electrification,” said Anthony.
Rosario said she would look into funding sources, including the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Sustainable Sandhills.
“Spring Lake is a charging desert,” said Rosario, who added that it could boost economic development by making Spring Lake a destination for charging.
She suggested Veterans Park and Town Hall as two locations.
Alderman Marvin Lackman said other town-owned properties could be possibilities.
He said after the meeting that his concern is a charging station would not be the right optics for Veterans Park, that parking is limited there, and that it is close Town Hall.
The board also approved the placement of 14 “no litter” signs at the entrance to neighborhoods and places where litter is a major problem. Williams said the signs will start going up Tuesday.
The board went into closed session to discuss legal and personnel matters at 7:30 p.m. The session ended at 8:20 p.m.