SANFORD, N.C.--Some in Sanford are upset after news that their loved ones’ graves will be moved because of a road widening project.

The project, expected to begin construction in fall of 2019, will widen Highway 42/Broadway Road from two lanes to four lanes.

About 200 of the 2,200 graves at Shallow Well United Church of Christ are in the right of way of that project and will need to be relocated.

It has some asking Department of Transportation officials if there is any other way to ease traffic concerns without affecting the 136-year-old cemetery.

“People want to know if they’ll be affected, if their family will be affected,” said Rev. Donald Thompson, the church’s pastor. “It’s just the uncertainty about how it’s going to be done and where they’ll be relocated to.”

Division 8 DOT Division Engineer Brandon Jones says traffic on Highway 42 is expected to double by 2039 and if the road stays the way it is now, there will be more congestion and increased delays.

“The last thing we want to do is impact graves but in this case, going from a two-lane to a divided four-lane, it’s really unavoidable,” said Jones.

Jones says they promise to cover the expenses for moving the graves and they’ll work with the church to make sure they’re moved carefully and respectfully.

“It’s going to be a trying time, but we’ll get through it,” said Thompson.

Vivian Rosser's grandparents are buried here. Because of the project, she'll have to visit them in a new location.

"I'm comfortable with it, because I feel like their souls have already gone to heaven," she said, "I respect other people's feelings and I realize there's a lot of emotional attachment here but I remember the adage too, that life is for the living."

The church has posted a list of the graves impacted on their website.

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