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.”