The expansion of Interstate 45, known locally to Texans as the I-45 expansion project is starting to take shape in ways that may significantly affect you as a business or homeowner along the I-45 highway. If you stand to lose some or all of your property on account of the eminent domain law, we will cover the measures you can take to protect your property.
It’s best to stay on the safe side and remain informed about Texas’s eminent domain and the I-45 expansion project Houston is planning. This way, you’ll be well-prepared in the case of the I-45 expansion project getting off the ground and officials potentially claiming your property.
What is The Highway Expansion About?
Houston is expanding – and residents are expected to adapt to the evolving landscape. Currently, Houston is the 4th most populous city in the U.S. As a result of the ongoing developments in the city, Houston is running out of space due to the expansion of the booming industries that it supports.
Transportation has always played a major role in the city’s history, with the Port of Houston and its impressive railroad hub having facilitated trade for centuries. Housing is affordable and business opportunities in any of the business districts are plentiful. It is here where things start to get more complex as the city’s ambitions for expansion encroach upon the security of businesses and homeowners alike.
I-45 is one of three interstate highways in the state of Texas, connecting the cities of Dallas and Houston. Between downtown Houston and Galveston, it is known to local Houston residents as the Gulf Freeway. Featuring high occupancy vehicle lanes (for carpools, transit vans, and buses), the freeway also has reversible lanes – depending on the time of day and the amount of traffic.
Transporting residents to and from downtown Houston causes a lot of traffic, which worsens the city’s air quality. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) supports the I-45 expansion project to ameliorate the transportation headaches of residents. The North Houston Highway Improvement Project will controversially displace hundreds of homes and business owners in Harris County if it goes ahead. Most local authorities are against the I-45 expansion and Houston residents remain divided as to what is in the community’s best interests.
Harris County remains at odds with TxDOT as a federal lawsuit plays out. Considering this, the law of eminent domain will affect you if you own property located near the I-45 Highway. However, before making any drastic decision such as relocating your home, take some time to understand the law so that you know your rights and can ensure you are treated fairly no matter the outcome.
What Is Eminent Domain and How Does it Affect Me?
We will unpack the complexities of the eminent domain law and the degree of authority that the government has to claim private land for public use. If your property is considered ‘highway adjacent’ along the I-45, you can be certain that it’s been considered as part of the I-45 expansion project. A group of evaluators, lawyers, land surveyors, and accountants will have likely spent time drawing up plans on how to get the land they require for the I-45 expansion Houston project.
Eminent domain has seen many homes and business owners dispossessed of their properties for transportation development projects in the past. The U.S. Supreme Court defers to the rights of individual states to define what constitutes “fair public use” for themselves, and this is where gray areas of interpretation of Texas eminent domain come in. With this, the state can lawfully take your home or business, provided that its use is considered fair.
If you find yourself the victim of an eminent domain dispute somewhere along the I-45, knowing exactly who you are up against can also prove tricky. If you are given an offer for relocation, it’s best to seek the help of a professional. It is at this stage that you will require a reputable lawyer who’ll fight to ensure that you get the representation you deserve in the unfortunate event of being forced off your property.
The term condemnation refers to the legal acquisition of property by a local government or other private entities. Concerning the Texas eminent domain law, there is usually pre-condemnation planning, commissioner’s hearings, and of course, the opportunity for trial. This is when the expertise and experience of a lawyer well-versed in condemnation law and the nuances of Texas eminent domain comes to the fore.
What Are the Areas Involved in The Expansion?
After litigation was put on hold for nine months in 2021, the historic 5th Ward just east of downtown (known as “Segment 3”) has recently been jump-started and will likely be affected by the expansion. More than 1000 homes and hundreds of businesses will be impacted by the widening and re-routing of the I-45 east of downtown.
What Should I Do If My Home or Business Is Under Threat?
If you or your business will be directly impacted by this expansion, and you are unsure as to how best to move forward, it’s worth ascertaining the latest developments on the North Houston Highway Improvement Project and consulting with a lawyer who will fight to protect your home or business from eminent domain law.
Potts Law is well-positioned to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and ensure a smooth transition. We are willing to professionally represent you or your business to see to it that a fair outcome is achieved in a peaceful manner.
Call Potts Law today at (888) 420-1299 for a free legal consultation regarding eminent domain and condemnation.