As the NC Hwy. 24 expansion project winds its way into Sampson, and prepares to bypass Autryville, officials in the small western Sampson County town are saying that they are already seeing an impact locally. Not all of it, however, is negative as once expected.
“The new bypass has taken five real estate pieces,” said Autryville town clerk Diane Autry. “It has also taken 20 water customers as well.” The bypass, which is going around the town on the northern side, is causing a host of changes in the infrastructure of the town.
While some water customers have been lost, Autry pointed out that the town will gain with the state-run water line in the town. That, she said, would provide better pressure on the northern end of town. And, she stressed, the town is working with the state regarding the lost water customers to get that lost revenue back.
Another plus could be residential in nature, the town clerk noted. “We also have the possibility of new homes,” she explained, adding that some of those new homes will be right at the Cumberland County line.
Other changes will come as well.
“Our Powell Bill map will change when the road is completed,” Autry said, noting that the new bypass is taking some of their existing roadways. “We will resurvey the boundaries and streets.” The money to redo a new survey will come out of the Powell Bill fund.
But an expanded NC 24 is still something town leaders want to see.
“Autryville is eager to have the new road,” the town clerk said. “We will have an access, and we are tickled about that. It’s a positive thing.”
There’s also hope that a long-requested stoplight might eventually be erected, replacing the existing caution light.
“We had requested a stop light,” she explained, mentioning that they had requested one three or four times, only to hear that they were just too small of a town to get one.
And while town leaders are hoping travelers on NC 24 will exit the bypass to come into Autryville, they are pleased that the expansion will prevent all those large 18-wheelers from traveling into the downtown.
Because of the expansion, the town is also going to see a pumping station moved, the station that Autry describes as the second supply for Autryville’s water in the case of an emergency.
“The state recommended that we keep it,” she said. “We have had a lot of organizations and meetings in this process.”
“We used to buy water from Stedman,” she explained, adding that they have also bought water from Sampson County.
She said that government agencies from the federal to local level have all recommended that the town keep that local pumping station in the case of a hurricane or other disaster.
The town is in the process of getting that all worked out, and the town is now in meetings trying to get the new system that will be put in compatible with their equipment.
“We don’t want this to be a burden on (the town),” Autry detailed. She said that the town hopes that there won’t be a loan or any sort of payment to have to come out of this situation with the pumping station.
“We want what is at the water tower to be compatible with Sampson County,” she said. “The state is being helpful and looking after us.”
Fire hydrants are also being put into place as well as that temporary bridge down on John Nunnery Road to assist the state in tree removal around the river.
Autry said that when it is all completed it will give the town a better supply of water.
“We are proud of the road,” she said.
Residents interested in more information on the Hwy. 24 expansion and its impact on Autryville can call town hall at 525-4567.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd