Frustration over the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway Project

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The NCDOT website says the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway Project will cost about $1,068,000,000. It would create a loop around the city of Winston-Salem to relieve some traffic on U.S. 52.

It’s a project we’ve been hearing about for years and many property owners in the path of the plan have been aware of it since day one.

The Westmoreland family has lived on Old Belews Creek Road outside Winston-Salem for three generations. Darrell Westmoreland remembers when his parents built the barns on their property.

“I wasn’t much help but, you know, I was around it and climbing around,” said Darrell. “It was just amazing to see it, and then to think it’s all going to be gone and leveled for a highway.”

They say DOT workers began coming out to survey their land in 2005.

“We gave ‘em water and took care of ‘em just like they were friends, and then all of a sudden, whenever it comes to the showdown, it seems like nobody likes us anymore,” said Darrell’s father, Dan.

Dan is 72 years old. He has lived on the property for his entire life.

Dan says on May 29, they received a letter from the DOT saying they had 30 days to vacate their property. Anything that is left on their land will become property of the DOT.

The family says they have over 50 years of items which need to be moved. They say their land is a working farm, with crops to be made, as well as animals and equipment to be moved. The family says they purchased another farm in 2008, but say 30 days is not enough time to move everything to the new property.

“It’ll just be starting over. At my age it’s not fun to start over doing anything,” said Dan.

The family says a private company hired by the DOT made them an offer on their property, but it was much lower than they believe it is worth.

The family then hired a lawyer to try to get them more money and time.

FOX8 contacted the project engineer, who told us they’re not involved in the acquisition process. Officials say they normally try to work with property owners who need more time to move, but there is not a lot of leeway in this situation, because the project is set to begin in October.

“It’s just kind of like a dream,” said Dan. “You just wish it would go away. But it’s not.”

18 comments

  • Dawn

    is DOT going to compensate them for the property? if not I would not be leaving at all and would get a lawyer.

    • Vicky Luffman

      The Westmorland’s were wonderful friends and neighbors on Williston Rd. in Walkertown, NC for many years. My daughter bought my home place on Williston Rd. in 1994. We were all so happy to have the property back in the family. One horrible day in 2002, my daughter came home to see flags through her yard. Later we found out that she had been visited by the NCDOT. It was heartbreak from then on. I looked into the situation and learned that you can’t fight the DOT. So, we tried our tears and said goodbye to the little house that my late Father and Mother built for the family in 1950. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the DOT took a portion of my Dad’s front yard in Clemmons, NC for a turn lane from Hampton Rd. onto 158. That did it!!! My daughter, her family and I now call Charleston, SC home. Prayerfully, we won’t have our lives turned upside down by the SCDOT. After our experiences, do we ever truly own anything??? Prayers for the Westmorland’s from the Flynn’s.

  • llw

    Work hard for a living through so many generations and then the government steps in and offers you merely nothing and hands you moving orders. So much for progress and to heck with uprooting someone in their 70′s. So sad.

  • Marcus Simpson

    The Contract will be Let in October…..errr let’s see now that is about 110 days out…..and they only have 30 Days to up root a working Farm? Yeah right…..your State DOT at its finest!

  • mimilll

    This is how to *government works*…..trust me when I say, it could be so much worse. This is someone’s life and livelihood….but the government DOES NOT CARE*****in NC law enforcement can push their way into a 3rd party residence without permission from the homeowner and WITHOUT obtaining a search warrant. THE law officers can then tell the homeowners to *SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP OR YOU WILL ALSO BE ARRESTED*…..Yes, without doing anything at all, just relaxing on a Saturday afternoon, minding your own business in your own HOUSE…..it can happen to anyone, trust me….because it happened to someone I know.

  • Bo Diddley

    They bought another farm in 2008 and have been farming both for the last 6 years and now are upset that they have to move? Boohoo! Can I drive the bulldozer? You hicks can ‘t stop progress.

    • chicken farmer

      It takes more time than 30 days to wind down a farming operation. Crops are in the ground. What were they supposed to do? Not try to make a living while they waited on the DOT to decide when they were going to need the land? These “hicks” put food on YOUR table! You raise your own food for now on! This family is a hard working family that voluteers a lot of thier time in our community.

  • Cathy

    Things like this make people be ashamed of our Government……..bunch of BULLIES!! You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves! This is one of our farmers! Where do you think our food supply is gonna come from when you TAKE all of our farmland to build your big ole highways……….that we won’t need because we won’t be able to afford to drive on them after you take everything we have worked for our whole lives……….SHAME ON THE WHOLE LOT OF YOU!!!

  • Nathan Ernest Tidwell

    that’s why this country is failing ..nc spending a billion plus for something that is displacing lives and greasing the crooked politicians pockets …they will get half or less to do the job ..the rest is seed money…crooks is what they are…

  • nanalisa68

    That is so wrong to take someone’s land when there is not a damn thing wrong with it and say it’s condemn just so they can build a f******* highway we need to change the laws .

  • R.E. Conner

    It is a shame that folks like these that do a law abiding job like farming. Which feed hungry people that are out there everywhere for a highway and run them off their land. The job that they do is a whole lot more important than building a roadway that the average person can’t afford to drive on. The money to build the road could feed alot homeless folk, feed children that go to bed hungry, there are many things it could do for the population. The rich sets back and gets richer and the folk in the real world suffer to make ends me. Less jobs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jenny

    This has happened to me because of a high-speed rail project In Alamance County. The NCDOT took six of our seven acres, they never told us the truth in eight years and they are arrogant, threatening people. After it is said and done, you then have to get ready to be taxed by the government! So get ready! And they still owe us money for the property taxes we paid on the property they took! Will this ever end?? Lawyers were hired but we still did not get enough to relocate to somewhere comparable to what we had before the eminent domain.

  • Walter Smith

    These folks took bad advice from an attorney to turn down a “low ball offer” of probably 40% over the appraised value of their property, and now they’re calling foul. Sorry, I have no sympathy for that. And everyone in Forsyth County has known about the beltway for nearly thirty years, so this “all of a sudden” stuff is just nonsense. There are hundreds of other property owners in the path of future parts of the beltway who would love to sell their property to DOT so they can move on with their lives,

  • kfishel

    Progress?? NCDOT beginning another project in which they can not afford, leaving other projects incomplete, due to insufficient funding so people can save 5 minutes of their time to get to arrive at their destination. Meanwhile, squeezing out another American farm which are becomming more and more extinct. Remember this “progress” as you’re shopping for your groceries and wondering why the prices have become more than your budget will support. Your groceries origninate from a farm somewhere. Contrary to some belief, they did not originate from the stockroom in the store. Government continues to push out the American farmer every day and justify it under the headline of “progress”. This country is not progressing. Come out from your rocks and look around you at the true situation we are in.

  • JERRY JACKSON

    YES THEY DO NEED CHANGE THE LAW!!!! IT IS SO SAD FOR SOMEBODY TO WORK SO HARD TO GET SOMETHING AND NOW THEY JUST COME IN AND TAKE IT ALL AWAY THAT”S F*** UP, THAT”S NC ALL TOGETHER AND I HOPE THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THAT BECAUSE IT’S NOT RIGHT FOR THEM TO TAKE SOMETHING AWAY FROM SOMEBODY WHO WORK SO HARD FOR!!!!!!!!

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