Shiloh Daum, a North Carolina eminent domain attorney for Sever Storey, recently conducted an informational seminar for the public at the Durham Public Library to discuss the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Alston Avenue, which is also known as NC 55. NC DOT plans call for the expansion of Alston Avenue from the intersection with the Durham Freeway / NC 147 northward the intersection with Holloway Street / NC Highway 98. Members of the public who might be affected by the NC DOT taking land by eminent domain and condemnation had a chance to learn about the project and important aspects of North Carolina eminent domain and condemnation law.

NC DOT has proposed several different sets of plans to widen and expand Alston Avenue from its existing three lanes to a new four land divided highway configuration. After considering public comments, NC DOT has decided to replace the current center turn lanes by a median divider, thus limiting access to and from some side streets. These side streets include the following: Morning Glory Ave., Worth St., Franklin St., Wall St., Hopkins St., Liberty St., and Eva St. Traffic signals will control access at larger intersections, including Pettigrew St., Angier Ave., Main St., Taylor St., and Holloway Street. Current plans allow better pedestrian and bicycle use and access, and NC DOT engineers have said that the new design will improve safety and access to businesses. Some portions of the new Alston Avenue will have street parking in commercial areas.

NC DOT is currently expecting to begin acquiring right of way from affected property owners in 2013, although the exact timeline remains somewhat uncertain. The new right of way will be approximately 80-90 feet wide for the majority of the 1-mile long project. The project budget for the right of way is less than $3 million, with an additional $28 million for construction. Construction is expected to begin in late 2014, according to NCDOT estimates.

Affected land owners and residents can review project design map for information about the scope of the widening. Many residences and businesses will have to be moved from their existing locations along Alston Avenue. The Sever Storey presentation included a review of the maps, the project details and timeline, and information about the legal process for property owners in the planned right of way. Property owners learned about the taking process and the requirement that land owners receive just compensation for the loss of their property. The seminar discussion included information about severance damages and residual damages in condemnation cases, and how landowners can protect their legal rights by working with the experienced eminent domain attorneys in Sever Storey’s North Carolina office. Landowners learned the importance of appraisals, experts, and understanding the right appraisal and property valuation methods. Residents also learned how relocation expenses and issues are handled and compensated when someone is displaced by an eminent domain taking.

Several property owners in Durham have since had personal appointments and consultations with Shiloh Daum to understand how this project will affect their particular property, and what valuation and just compensation issues might be involved as the NCDOT plans to take some land or their entire parcel. If you are affected by the widening of Alston Avenue, then call or email Shiloh Daum, the Sever Storey North Carolina eminent domain attorney in the Winston-Salem office.

Watch a VIDEO ANIMATION of the new expanded Alston Avenue here.