5 On Your Side

Woman feels hemmed in by road-widening project

Posted June 25, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2008 10:08 a.m. EDT

— The construction dust, mud and noise are bad enough, but you have probably noticed that people who live along roads that are being widened sometimes lose part of their land, too.

When negotiations with property owners don't work out, governments can invoke eminent domain. The law allows municipalities to seize property for public use. The owner of that land is entitled to reasonable compensation, but that is where it can get ugly.

For Jeanette Evans, the Evans Road widening project in Cary is among those unfortunate situations. Evans has lived along the road for the past 40 of her 78 years. The road is even named for her family.

“This is history. You know, our whole house is history. You know, the land they took is history,” Evans' daughter, Gloria Evans, said.

The women are upset that a house that once had a big front yard now has almost no yard, as well as a steep slope.

“One day when I went up to my mailbox, I fell. And thank God, I didn't break anything,” Jeanette Evans said.

The house's driveway was ripped up in November. The Evans are having to use a neighbor's driveway now.

“I can understand the frustration. You know, I can,” said Kyle Hubert, with the Town of Cary Engineering Division.

Hubert is the project manager for the Evans Road widening project. He said that to help Jeanette Evans get to her mailbox, steps and a railing should be finished by the end of this week. As for the driveway, Hubert said that since it turned out steep, the town will create a new driveway from Lake Drive.

The new driveway should be done by the end of July, Hubert said. Until then, the Evans want others to realize that the convenience that widening Evans Road will bring to commuters comes at a big cost to them.

"I know we're not the only ones this affects, but you don't realize how bad it is until it happens to you,” Gloria Evans said.

"Before the project began, the Town of Cary offered to buy Jeanette Evans' property for $142,500. She didn’t want to sell, so, after mediation, both sides agreed to $51,000 in compensation for the land the Town actually took for the road.