As a major roadway expansion spanning Tuscaloosa and Bibb County lines begins, local property owners are voicing their concerns about the considerable impact of this project. State and government agencies have the right to seize private property for public use. This process, known as condemnation, requires these agencies to offer a fair price to landowners in exchange for their land. However, many property owners affected by the US-11 road widening project have reported that the state has failed to offer them a just amount of compensation.
The Details of the Proposed Expansion Project
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), this expansion project aims to “improve traffic flow and enhance safety” by adding more lanes. Spanning approximately seven miles, the project targets the area between the Mercedes plant and Highway 5, which has seen a steady increase in traffic volume within recent years. The planned expansion project, which is projected to take between two to three years and $50 million to complete, intends to ease congestion in anticipation of continued growth throughout the community.
Tuscaloosa County Property Owners Express Their Concerns
While ALDOT claims that it uses “independent, certified appraisers who provide an impartial appraisal for properties,” many affected property owners state that they have not received fair offers. An estimated 70 property owners in the Woodstock area will be impacted by the US-11 project, many of whom have felt pressured into selling their property for far less than its worth. When an owner refuses to respond to the offer, the state will sue them to take their property, exacerbating and escalating tensions. There are many types of damages that an experienced condemnation attorney can recover. According to Woodstock resident Kathy Leatherwood, “I have no problem with growth, but I do have a problem with how the state compensates you.” Other owners have shared their hesitations with the state’s intimidating tactics to purchase property below market value, stressing the importance of working with an attorney to ensure their rights are protected.
Working With an Experienced Condemnation Lawyer Can Make All the Difference
Most people don’t understand the condemnation process, and they risk accepting a lowball offer in exchange for their property. As soon as you suspect that a state or government agency may attempt to take your land, contact a condemnation attorney to discuss your options. It’s important to note that you can appeal and negotiate an equitable settlement—you don’t have to go along with their initial offer. Trust that your attorney will work hard to defend your rights and secure you a favorable outcome.
Learn more about your rights as an Alabama property owner by reaching out to the trusted legal team at Sewell Sewell Beard LLC today at (205) 544-2350.