Property owners on alert for I-35E expansion

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 27 at 11:25 PM

DENTON COUNTY — Nearly 500 business and homeowners are receiving letters from the Texas Department of Transportation, which wants to purchase their properties.

Those parcels lie in the path of Phase 2 of the $4.8 billion Interstate 35E expansion project. It will be constructed in phases, rebuilding the entire 28-mile corridor stretching south from Denton to LBJ Freeway in Farmers Branch.

The goal is to ease congestion on roads that can be a nightmare during rush hour.

"I live in Fort Worth and I try to stay over there," said Murray Young.

"We can't ever keep up with as fast as people are moving in here, no matter what we do," added Randy Russell.

The "Right of Way" letters being sent out review the process for "acquisition of the property," and are meant to get the ball rolling with willing property owners.

"This provides potential cost savings to the taxpayers, and would provide certainty to property owners about the status of their property," explained TxDOT spokesman Tony Hartzel.

Masud Reza has a Chevron station, a storage company, and housing on 8.5 acres in the planned path of that expansion. While he hasn't received his letter yet, he knows it's coming.

"It's my livelihood, and I make my living out of this, so it worries me," Reza admitted.

He has, however, received plenty of mail from law firms willing to represent him when TxDOT comes by to claim the property.

Jasper Quintana has a business and a home in the path of the I-35E expansion. He already received a letter for his Phase 1 property.

"I know it was coming down the line," he said. "It doesn't make it any easier."

Phase 2 construction won't start for another five to seven years, and is not set to begin until Phase 1 is complete.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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