HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WNCN) — Neighbors who live off Tom Starling Road feel like the back roads in Cumberland County are often forgotten about.
“Everybody thinks you’ve got to take care of the main roads, but you’ve got to take care of the side roads to get to the main roads,” said Joseph Williams.
Williams has lived off of Tom Starling Road for 18 years. He said he’s happy to see the road get some attention. The North Carolina Department of Transportation widened the road and changed the severe curves over the past year.
North Carolina Ranks eight in the nation for fatal crashes on rural roads. Neighbors said several of those crashes happened where those old curves used to be.
The ranking comes from the national research group TRIP. According to their study, North Carolina’s rural roads have four times the fatality rate than other roads in the state.
The NCDOT reported from 2007 through 2012 there were 126 crashes on Tom Starling Road. Three were fatal.
“We want roads to be as safe as possible, as congestion-free as possible” said district engineer Richie Hines. “We also recognize they have to be efficient for commerce and business.”
Hines said safety drives which roads are improved first. There are more plans to improve more roads in Hope Mills. The NCDOT will realign the intersection Chicken Foot Road near Sand Hill Road to reduce congestion in the area.
The TRIP report stated 10 percent of North Carolina’s rural roads are in poor condition and twenty percent are in mediocre condition.