Pender Co. 'toll road' sees less traffic, but several run-ins

Pender Co. 'toll road' sees less traffic, but several run-ins

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Cedar Avenue in Pender County has been used for years to get to the beach faster, but now it seems everyone is driving through this neighborhood of 225 residents.

John Conerly, with the road maintenance organization for the neighborhood, said 127,500 cars used the half dirt, half paved road last year alone.

With the expectation for increased traffic during the Memorial Day weekend, residents put up signs charging $5 to use the cut through with the plan to have three checkpoints along the road to enforce it.

The toll checkpoints were open Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Conerly said traffic was a bit above normal Friday and resulted in three calls to 911 for problems with drivers running through the checkpoints without stopping, endangering the people at the checkpoint and in the community.

"This is the type safety issue we desperately need state help with before someone is hurt or worse," Conerly said explaining they collected about $100 and processed a little fewer than 700 vehicles.

According to Conerly, there were two toll points Saturday and traffic was above normal. Four 911 calls were made, one case in which a driver refused to stop and hit the toll volunteer and another volunteer's vehicle. No one was injured and damage was minimal.

Conerly said the driver was detained, questioned and then released.

Volunteers processed over 800 vehicles Saturday and collected about $700.

In all, Conerly said there were about 20 volunteers from the community working the toll checkpoints and over 100 vehicles paid $5 to pass. He said over 70 cars refused to pay and turned around.

According to the sheriff's office, charging the toll is perfectly legal since the RMO in the neighborhood has a signed deed to the road, and there are no laws on the books stating a fee cannot be charged to use a private road.

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