IRON STATION, N.C. -- Saturday afternoon, the residents along Amity Lane in Iron Station saw something they thought they’d never see – their road, falling back into place. Literally.
Back in June, record rains washed out a drainage ditch from under the road in their Trinity Farms neighborhood, and it collapsed. Residents who lived beyond the creek on the one-way-in, one-way-out street were cut off.
Because the road is privately owned, county and state agencies said they couldn’t help with repairs, which several contractors estimated would amount to more than $30,000.
"We haven't asked for anything,” said one resident at the time. “This is an emergency."
Residents had little choice but to risk driving over a makeshift bridge made of telephone poles and 2x6 planks, or using a footbridge to get across.
Simple trips like taking kids to school, going to the doctor, or driving to the grocery store became much more difficult.
Resident David Bowles said in urgent situations, those extra minutes made the difference – like when his mother would get sick, and couldn’t walk.
“I drove my truck down here as far as I could get,” he said, “and put my other vehicle on the other side, and carried her.”
But this weekend, that changed.
A Charlotte construction company heard about the residents’ plight, and offered to help.
Sanders Utility Construction talked to its vendors, and one of them, Fortline Waterworks, donated enough of the six-foot-tall pipe to stretch across the road under the creek.
Owner Steve Sanders said the pipe alone is worth $5,000 to $6,000.
A Lincoln County homeowner who heard about Sanders’ efforts gave close to 75 truckloads of dirt he was digging out of his front yard, and Sanders poured it over the pipe to fill in the creek.
Sanders donated the trucks and labor to do the work. Why? He said the economy has been picking up, and business has been good to him over the years. He wanted to give back.
“It's just been a community effort and we're just glad to help these residents,” he said.
The folks on the other side of Amity Lane can’t believe their good fortune.
“They're doing a miracle for us,” said Billie Williams. “They’ve been working really hard. I just want to tell them thank you...” She paused. “There’s no words to express it.”
David Bowles echoed her praise.
“We think it's a blessing, all of us do,” he said. “We appreciate everything this gentleman's doing for us right here.”
Sanders said his company will put another load of gravel on the road and some rocks on the slope to keep it from eroding, but other than that, the road is done.
Residents, for their part, didn’t waste any time – they started using their new road before the tractors even cleared the site.