A proposal by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to relocate NC 119 where it travels through Mebane in Alamance County has been approved. The NC 119 Relocation Project was proposed in an effort to preemptively deal with forecasted travel patterns through 2025. As it now exists, NC 119 runs through the heart of the city of Mebane. The two lane roadway runs concurrently with Fifth Street, US 70 and other city streets. The current route forces travelers to make several turns, taking them through residential areas and even Mebane’s busy downtown. Moreover, the route intersects with an at-grade railroad crossing, which means that drivers are frequently delayed when a train is passing through.
CSH Eminent Domain has discovered that the approved rerouting is designed to eliminate several turns and the at-grade railroad crossing. Traffic congestion in Mebane is expected to continue to increase in the next few years because of its proximity to the Triangle and Triad areas. The NC 119 Relocation Project will likely cut down on the air and noise pollution experienced in Mebane as well as allow for better traffic flow. Officials connected to the project, designated as the NCDOT’s Transportation Improvement Program Project No. U-3109, are also hopeful that the rerouting will mean fewer accidents.
The approved route is one of ten alternatives originally proposed as solutions for improving the route of NC 119. CSH Eminent Domain understands that the new roadway will feature between four and six lanes as well as a grassy median. There will be two or three travel lanes in each direction. Designers estimate that the NC 119 Relocation Project will require between 150 and 300 feet of new right of way along the route. In addition, a bridge would eliminate the need to stop for railway traffic, an important component since the track is being studied as part of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.
Any privately owned property that lies in the new path of NC 119 will be taken and purchased by the NCDOT under its power of eminent domain. Our Constitution requires that the NCDOT pay “just compensation” (i.e., fair market value) for all private property taken, which includes paying monetary damages for any remaining property that is damaged. If a property owners and NCDOT cannot agree on a price, the issue is ultimately decided by a jury. The practitioners at CSH Eminent Domain law have learned through experience that the initial price offered to property owners by the NCDOT does not always reflect just compensation. It is the right of all property owners to dispute the amount of NCDOT’s offer and seek and independent valuation of their claim.
The rerouting of NC 119 runs for nearly six miles and will likely impact hundreds of property owners. Anyone who has been contacted by the NCDOT in connection with the NC 119 Relocation Project can contact the CSH Eminent Domain lawyers to ensure that their rights are protected.