GREENSBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation says they are working to notify as many as 200 Greensboro residents about buying their property for the expansion of the new Urban Loop.
The Eastern part of the project, a four-lane highway connecting U.S. 70 and U.S. 29 North, will cost an estimated $119 million. The state plans to buy homes and businesses under eminent domain laws in order to make room.
For Dr. Jerome Spruill and his wife, Marla, their six acres of land on Dunstan Road is more than just a piece of property.
“My kids grew up here, my daughter’s wedding was right here in our garden. It’s their home. It’s my home. But we have to give it up,” said Marla.
The couple said at first it was hard to even consider giving up their home after 28 years. They were first notified about seven years ago that the state would eventually buy their property for the Urban Loop expansion.
“Years go by. Someone says, ‘Yes, we’re going to acquire your property,’ but we don’t know when. They should give us target dates. It’s just so unfair that people have to wait this long to know about the course of their lives,” Jerome pointed out.
That’s exactly why Department of Transportation engineer Mike Mills admits that this construction has a huge impact on homes and businesses.
“You’re talking about people who’ve been there 30, 40 years. Farmland that’s been in the family for a hundred years. It’s a tremendous impact…. We try to to give them fair market value. We hire independent appraisers to evaluate the value of the homes and property. We work with them any way we can to make this transition smooth as possible,” explained Mills.
Mills explained why the project is essential for continued growth in Greensboro.
“This loop will take you from Battleground Ave, US 220, all the way to Bryan Blvd and the airport. Easy access for folks from Rockingham County and Virginia,” said Mills, adding it will also help alleviate traffic in the Piedmont Triad.
While property owners like the Spruills are frustrated with the timeline of the project, they said they also understand the big picture.
“We know it has to happen- it’s for the greater good,” said Jerome. “We all understand that. But make the process as smooth as possible.”
Mills said the state is organizing funding to buy property this year, and construction should be in full swing by 2014.