Section of Wilson County Road Really a 'High' Way
Posted August 27, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT
WILSON COUNTY — New roads are built all the time, sometimes in front of homes and businesses. Normally you would hardly notice, but some Wilson County residents are angry about the new road running by their homes.
A section of Wiggins Mill Road goes over the site where the Highway 264 Bypass is being built. Homeowners knew the road would be built up, but did not expect the road to be 16 feet high in some places.
Homeowner Terry Etheridge says the road is not what he agreed to three years ago when thestate Department of Transportationannounced its plans.
"They came by in 1997 buying land and they said it would be 8 feet. Well, I already had the house there and I had to go with it then, but now I've got 16 feet," he says.
The hill is higher and wider than any of the homeowners thought it would be.
"We know what we were told," says homeowner Roger Lucas. "As neighbors, we negotiated between each other. Kind of 'what were you told?' and threw it back and forth and felt like we were pretty well informed. We went to all the pre-construction meetings and tried to find out what the road was going to do."
Lucas, who is also a county commissioner, has a laundry list of complaints for the state. He says he expected the highway to go up 2 inches in front of his house, not 6 feet.
Lucas believes the DOT changed its plan and did not tell landowners.
"We really feel like we've been misled to a very large extent," he says.
The local DOT office says the highway is exactly as engineers said it would be three years ago.
Any surprises mean that the homeowners misunderstood the magnitude of the project.
"We in no way want to deceive anyone out here," says DOT engineer Kevin Bowen. "We're trying to work with them and are trying to provide them safe travelways and do everything we can to help them out."
Lucas sent a letter to Governor Hunt, hoping he might intervene. Any changes would have to be made quickly as the road is scheduled to open in about two weeks.