PINETOPS, N.C. (AP) — The planned development of a new bridge in North Carolina has led to the relocation of a cemetery with graves dating to the 19th century.

The Rocky Mount Telegram reports that the North Carolina Department of Transportation covered the cost of the relocating the Old Sparta Riverside Cemetery. It's been moved to the Old Sparta Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, in advance of replacing the N.C. 42 bridge.

A departmental public relations officer, Andrew Barksdale, says moving graves is rare and requires the approval of the State Historical Preservation Office. Of the 17 relocated graves, only one is marked.

The DOT had considered relocating an 80-foot-long (24-meter-long) sunken ship on the opposite side of the cemetery, instead. But the state said it would have been destroyed during the move.

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Information from: Rocky Mount Telegram, http://www.rockymounttelegram.com