Eminent Domain Attorney for the I-40 Widening Project from Southeast Raleigh to Clayton
*This project is under construction, litigation may no longer be viable.
In 2009, the NCDOT sought public input on improving traffic conditions on I-40 from I-440 (Exit 301) in Raleigh to N.C. 42 (Exit 312) in Clayton. After subsequent meetings with state and federal agencies regarding design options, the project was approved. The I-40 Widening Project is part of a larger plan that would also improve interchanges along this section as well. The widening portion of the project began in Fall 2018, followed by the interchange upgrades. The NCDOT is currently evaluating several design options:
A Diverging Diamond interchange for I-40/NC 42, in which two directions of traffic that are guided by traffic signals, pavement markings, and concrete barriers, allow travelers to get onto the interstate faster and more safely.
- A separate roadway that would run parallel to I-40 and allow merging traffic from NC 42 to exit at a single point instead of having to merge into the flow of through-traffic on I-40.
- A new interchange at Cleveland Road.
NCDOT plans to widen 12 miles of I-40, from I-440 (Exit 301) in Raleigh to NC 42 West (Exit 312) in Clayton by adding two lanes in each direction.
If you own land near this highway, it’s possible that your land might be acquired by the government under eminent domain. If you are contacted by a Right of Way or property appraisal agent, consult with an eminent domain attorney before signing any agreements.
As this project continues, the Department of Transportation will be beginning a new segment in 2022 to add additional lanes on I-40 from where it connects to I-440 to S.R. 1370 (Lake Wheeler Road). This is supposed to improve the carrying capacity of I-40. The project is bordered by Lake Johnson Park and North Carolina State University – Centennial Campus to the north, and Tryon Road to the south.
UPDATED: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCDOT is experiencing a budget shortage that is causing them to delay numerous road construction projects. As of 4/2020, there are no delays to this project as right of way acquisition is underway at this time, but this may cause the eminent domain actions to be drawn out.
Purpose of the I-40 Widening Project
Any Raleigh resident will tell you that congestion on I-40 is a huge problem. The NCDOT is addressing the issue with several projects aimed at alleviating some of this congestion. A study showed that approximately 35.6 million vehicles traveled on this particular stretch of road in 2015. That number is expected to increase by 65 percent by 2040, as the area is experiencing a boom in residential and commercial growth.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain refers to the right of a government or to obtain a private property with compensation. In the past, property obtained via eminent domain could only be used for public good, but the Supreme Court Case Kelo v. City of New London determined that the government can also use eminent domain on behalf of private developers to further economic development.
NCDOT projects are seen as beneficial to the public and, therefore, a just use of eminent domain. However, property owners faced with their land being acquired under eminent domain are faced with a tough process, especially if the government isn’t offering fair compensation. An experienced eminent domain attorney can provide guidance and ensure that you are treated fairly.
What is Land Condemnation?
In an eminent domain case, you may hear the term Land Condemnation, which can be confusing. This term doesn’t refer to the condemning of land for hazards or sanitation. Land Condemnation refers to the actual seizure of the property under the power of eminent domain.
What is the Eminent Domain Process in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, once a public project is announced, several public meetings will be held. If the project could affect your property, it’s important to attend these meetings, as information will be given about how the project might affect the public property. If it’s determined that your property may be acquired under eminent domain, contact an attorney immediately to help guide you through the process. Here’s what you can expect:
- The government will send an agent to inspect and appraise your property.
- An appraiser selected by yourself and your eminent domain lawyer appraises the property.
- The government will make an offer. Do not assume that the initial offer will be fair. The first offer will be based on an appraiser hired by the government,
- If the property owner and the government agree on compensation, the sale will move forward.
- If compensation cannot be agreed upon, eminent domain proceedings will begin.
Eminent Domain Proceedings
Eminent domain proceedings can occur without prior negotiations. Here’s how it works:
- The government initiates the eminent domain proceeding by filing a complaint and declaration of taking in the superior court of the county where the property is located.
- The property owner or NCDOT requests the appointment of commissioners within 60 days after the property owner files their answer to the complaint. The commissioners are disinterested property owners residing in the county.
- The commissioners will visit the property, hear testimony, and hold hearings to determine compensation.
- If the property owner is still not satisfied with the compensation, he or she can appeal within 30 days and the case will be heard by a jury.
Eminent Domain Resources for Landowners
Acquiring properties via eminent domain is no picnic for the government either, as some cases can cause project delays and become costly. The NCDOT makes every effort to minimize the number of homes and businesses affected by its projects, but sometimes this is simply not possible. Fortunately, the NCDOT offers relocation assistance for residents and businesses displaced by eminent domain. This assistance can come in the form of rent payments, moving costs, storage fees, etc. An eminent domain lawyer can assist you in determining the type of assistance you are qualified to receive.
Contact an Eminent Domain Lawyer in the Raleigh Area
If your property lies in or near the land needed for the I-40 Widening Project from Southeast Raleigh to Clayton, the NCDOT may acquire it using eminent domain. In some cases, you may eligible for more than simply the cost of your land. The experienced eminent domain lawyers of Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, LLP will review your case and help you receive just compensation, as well as any related assistance funds in which you are entitled. In some cases, you may be eligible for compensation for business losses as well.
If you have already been contacted by a Right of Way agent regarding this project, call our Raleigh law firm immediately at (919) 615-2473 or complete the form below to speak with us about eminent domain and land condemnation. We will guide you through the process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your time, property, and any other associated costs.