Residents take NC DOT to court over stalled NC 540 project

Posted April 30, 2012 7:21 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2012 7:27 p.m. EDT

— Dozens of Wake County property owners were in court Monday supporting a civil lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Transportation over stalled plans to extend the N.C. Highway 540 loop around Wake County.

The residents say the state informed them of plans to build the 14-mile stretch and possibly buy their land but that more than a decade later, the state has not done so.

Waiting, they say, has led to other missed opportunities to sell the land because of uncertainties about whether an expressway was going to be built through it.

Pat Johnson says she has missed out on selling her family's property in southeast Wake County more than once.

"We had an offer on our property back in 2002 for $9 million, and it fell through," said Johnson.

She and others say that if the state plans to buy the property, they should do so and pay them fair market value. They also want to be compensated for all of the time that has passed and the deals they've missed out on.

The state won't comment because of the lawsuit. In the past, officials have said that the land hasn't been purchased because of a lack of necessary funding.

In recent years, plans to complete the loop have been in question because of concerns about how proposed routes will affect surrounding areas.

It's not clear when the judge will rule.