All those portions of the public road system of the State which have not been taken over and placed under maintenance or which have been abandoned by the Department of Transportation, but which remain open and in general use as a necessary means of ingress to and egress from the dwelling house of one or more families, and all those roads that have been laid out, constructed, or reconstructed with unemployment relief funds under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services, and all other roads or streets or portions of roads or streets whatsoever outside of the boundaries of any incorporated city or town in the State which serve a public use and as a means of ingress or egress for one or more families, regardless of whether the same have ever been a portion of any State or county road system, are hereby declared to be neighborhood public roads and they shall be subject to all of the provisions of G.S. 136-68, 136-69 and 136-70 with respect to the alteration, extension, or discontinuance thereof, and any interested party is authorized to institute such proceeding, and in lieu of personal service with respect to this class of roads, notice by publication once a week in any newspaper published in said county, or in the event there is no such newspaper, by posting at the courthouse door and three other public places, shall be deemed sufficient: Provided, that this definition of neighborhood public roads shall not be construed to embrace any street, road or driveway that serves an essentially private use, and all those portions and segments of old roads, formerly a part of the public road system, which have not been taken over and placed under maintenance and which have been abandoned by the Department of Transportation and which do not serve as a necessary means of ingress to and egress from an occupied dwelling house are hereby specifically excluded from the definition of neighborhood public roads, and the owner of the land, burdened with such portions and segments of such old roads, is hereby invested with the easement or right-of-way for such old roads heretofore existing.

Upon request of the board of county commissioners of any county, the Department of Transportation is permitted, but is not required, to place such neighborhood public roads as above defined in a passable condition without incorporating the same into the State or county system, and without becoming obligated in any manner for the permanent maintenance thereof.

This section shall not authorize the reopening on abandoned roads of any railroad grade crossing that has been closed by order of the Department of Transportation in connection with the building of an overhead bridge or underpass to take the place of such grade crossing. (1929, c. 257, s. 1; 1933, c. 302; 1941, c. 183; 1949, c. 1215; 1957, c. 65, s. 11; 1969, c. 982; 1973, c. 476, s. 138; c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 7.1; 1997-443, s. 11A.122.)