Plans to extend Military Cutoff could mean disturbing some graves at the Mt. Ararat A.M.E. Church Cemetery on Market Street.
Jonathan Barfield Sr. has several family members buried there including his mother, father, cousin and uncle. Barfield said he plans to be buried there as well, but he was upset when he heard about the possibility of exhuming bodies.
"The person that orchestrated it, that God take one of their family members and dig them up," Barfield said.
North Carolina Department of Transportation Engineer Karen Fussell said she realizes moving loved ones is a sensitive topic. Fussell said that nothing is set in stone and that within the next few weeks, the DOT will use a ground penetrating radar to test the land and make sure there are no unnamed or unmarked graves where they plan to widen the roads.
"By the end of the summer we should have those results back," Fussell explained. "We would like to take a look at that and see if there are marked graves or if there are any graves that would be impacted by an extension of the project, and we will certainly look at that very carefully if that comes back in."
DOT officials said if they have to interfere with any graves, they will assess whether it's worth moving them. If they decide it is, they will try to contact relatives beforehand.
Barfield said just the idea of interfering with the cemetery is absurd.
"It's a sad day really, to even think about doing something like this, to people on land that they've owned for years, you know how you feel somebody dig up your family," Barfield said.
To find out more information the Military Cut-off Extension and if it effects you the DOT has provided details in a project outline.
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