NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - Potholes have been expanding in front of the New Bern Police Department for years. Crews with City of New Bern Public Works plan to fix them eventually, but an age old secret lies in the holes in the roadway.
Inside the potholes, brick can be seen. The brick could be up to 200 years old. Interim Public Works Director Matt Montanye, said even the roads from the past are preserved as historic.
"Pretty much from Queen to the river, pretty much East Front Street, South Front Street, where the roads do have brick underneath them," Montanye said.
Much of the downtown roads in New Bern are brick covered in asphalt. Montanye said brick was put in in the early to mid 1800s. When they're fixing worn down roads, some of the bricks do become loose and have to be taken out.
"When we actually do work on the streets, we save the bricks, we preserve them," Montaye "If there's something that needs to be done where we could use them, we have them."
Off site, there are several hundred bricks the city uses for whatever project they need. For example, in an area in front of Tryon Palace on Pollock Street, the road is made from the same historic brick that could be seen in the 1800s.
"It's pretty neat really, seeing it preserved," Allen Nuuga said. "Even if it is for a short distance."
However, the bricks aren't the oldest roads that still exist in New Bern. Deep under the asphalt on front street, below even the brick, the original cobble stone from when New Bern was a colony can be found.
"When the boats would come to New Bern, they would actually take the cobblestone and put it inside the boats to offset the weight and travel over here," Montanye said. "Then when they got to New Bern they would take the weight and they would dump it in a pile on East Front Street. Then they would load up with their cargo and go back to England."
The original stone dates back even farther, to the 1700s.
Resurfacing is planned for some of the roads in downtown New Bern, though it's not clear when that will happen or if the intersection in front of the police department will be part of it. The potholes should be patched by the City of New Bern sometime soon.
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