Officials said an inmate work crew discovered the device beside the road.
Officers rerouted traffic in the area of Highway 70 between Capps Bridge Road/Ebenezer Church Road and Riverbend Road while they investigated.
The bomb squad from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base handled the incident. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol were also on the scene.
Officials said three homes nearby were evacuated while they detonated the device where it was instead of moving it. They later confirmed the device appeared to be a pipe with a little gunpowder in it.
There were no injuries.
The road was reopened around 5 p.m.
The investigation is ongoing.