Dallas Neighbors Say LBJ Construction is Destroying Their Houses

Categories: Transportation

HighMeadowLBJCracksPhoto.jpg
635 Construction High Meadow Homeowners Action Group
Driving on LBJ Freeway while it's under construction is pure misery. Living next to it, as Laraine Schaffer and her neighbors have discovered over the past three years, is pure hell.

Schaffer's home is in the 12000 block of High Meadow Drive in far Northwest Dallas, a street that backs up to Interstate 635. Since construction on the road began in spring of 2011, residents there have endured skull-pounding noise, obnoxiously bright floodlights, and, according to Schaffer, tens of thousands of dollars in damage to homes and property.

The catalog of grievances is long. It started with the temporary removal of a fence separating the homes from the highway service road, a circumstance drivers took advantage of by cutting through the alley at high speeds. WFAA ran a report at the time.

Then, the LBJ Infrastructure Group put a construction staging area next door. The dust came shortly thereafter, clogging her home air filter so thoroughly that it had to be changed every three or four days. New critters started showing up, unfamiliar bugs and possums Schaffer figured were fleeing the noise and activity.

See also: Hundreds of Drivers Used LBJ's TEXpress, and They All Made it out Alive

The real headaches came when crews began punching holes into the ground for concrete support beams. The shaking, often in the middle of the night, was strong enough to send objects clattering from shelves. Her foundation began to shift; her house now slopes in two directions from her hallway. Cracks began appearing in the drywall, and they kept getting bigger. Schaeffer says one is now large enough that she can stick her hand through. Several neighbors have experienced similar problems.

Schaffer has been photographing the damage since construction began. Still, it will be an uphill slog to establish a definitive link between the property damage and the construction project.

As LBJ Express spokeswoman Heather Delapp put it in a statement to Telemundo last month (translated with the help of Google), "we take all complaints very seriously, but we have no evidence to suggest that there is damage to any property in this area as a result of the construction."

That's not stopping Schaffer and her neighbors from trying. To assist, they've enlisted veteran rabble rouser Carlos Quintanilla, who has helped formulate a list of demands:

  1. Repair any home that was damaged by 635 Construction
  2. Remove high power beams that shine on to homeowners rooms at 2 a.m.
  3. No construction after 8 p.m.
  4. Eliminate road bumps
  5. Inform homeowners of the future schedule for construction on 635.
  6. Erect a higher wall.

Fat chance, right? There are, however, a couple of things that are certain: With Quintanilla on board, the debate won't be quiet. Also, living next to LBJ is unspeakably awful.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
DeepInTheHeartOfTX
DeepInTheHeartOfTX

Politics is the name, corruption is the game. It's almost time for someone to shed the light for those stuck deep down in the rabbit hole and cannot get out. Fret not, someone out here is going to do some deep investigations.

Also, for those of you who complain about why people live next to a highway or for those of you who tell the homeowners to just move because of the construction : your preteen simple minded brain is showing. You should try to hide that. =]

sandykmac
sandykmac

So, it is the homeowners fault.  Does it matter if the homeowner purchased their home 16 years ago?  What if they had their foundation repaired in the last five years?  Can you explain why they lose internet/cable services periodically from cut lines?  The best part is, even after all of this construction and the home damage, the worst is yet to come.  They are just beginning to excavate for the underground lanes.  I live across Forest from the area, but my sister lives on High Meadow.  I've seen the damage.

accionamerica
accionamerica

Ferrovial is being paid 4.5 billion to construct the new fee toll road and it will generate 50 million dollars per year once it is completed, you would think they would set aside some of that money to reimburse homeowners for the damaged they caused , not a fat chance. You have some very big power political players from Governor Perry to a Karl Rove former press secretary handling media and public relations for ferrovial.com a foreign company based in Spain. IT SMELLS DISGUSTING.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Once the fracking is over and they complete the well, it'll calm down.  No more earthquakes.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

if they don't like they should just move to highland park

Obummer
Obummer

Yo duh; da houses on dat street wuz tear-downs b4 da road construction started.

mbridge
mbridge

Or they might just have an old home on a poor foundation on expansive Texas clay soils... Realistically it depends on how close the house is to LBJ, and even then the construction near the houses is just a CIP sound wall and reconstructing the bridges over 635. I love the demand to stop construction after 8pm. Night construction is the only way these massive highway expansions get done without significantly impacting traffic.

jf2good
jf2good

The construction company is absolutely to blame, but it is impossible to get them to resolve the issue as both them and their insurance lawyer up and use every tactic available to avoid paying compensation for damages they caused.  Don't blame the homeowners for living next to LBJ, I am sure they were against the construction just as many of us who don't live there, but had no say in the process.


The corporation rebuilding LBJ has one thing in mind. Profit, it doesn't care what corners it needs to cut, what damage it causes, who it disturbs in the middle of the night so long as it can complete the construction at the lowest cost for the highest profit.


You say it is their fault for living next to LBJ, well if millions of additional people didn't move to North Texas LBJ wouldn't need to be widened at all. How would the homeowners be at fault? I live on a street that was at one time local traffic until the un-elected, un-democratic organization NCTCG got together and decided to make it a major transportation link between all the fast growing cities in the the north and warehouse / business districts. Did I have any say or choice? No.  Was it planned before I purchased my home? No


So don't blame the homeowners, support them as they are facing an impossible tasks. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Why is there an outlet on the ceiling?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

This is about as surprising as people that live next to an airport bitching about noise. What did they expect?

kingfish247
kingfish247

looks like there's federal funds in the project (fhwa/tifia loan) which means nepa and uniform relocation act apply.

quick trip on the road at anytime in the past year and it's pretty plain to see potential violations of both.

the project's environmental review record should list who/where to direct complaints.

FHWA is best bet since, after the interstate highway was built, they have a history of dealing with displacement and hardships due to major highway projects.

big highway projects are a nasty business. But this is the land of free where highways cost nothing and even thinking of maybe getting from a to b in anything other than a Chevy with truck nutz is librul commie socialist thuggery.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

I'm guessing there are a few homeowners whose homes are located on the freeway frontage road who are regretting their decision not to move when this LBJ project was first announced.

"But honey, you said it would make our drive to Grapevine Mills that much easier..."

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

1) Gonna happen.  Just a matter of how many lawyers it takes.

2) Maybe some flags to block it, but otherwise not gonna happen.

3) No fucking way.  GET THE JOB DONE.

4) You think traffic is bad now?

5) Should already be done, not sure why it isn't.

6) Solid maybe.

DeepInTheHeartOfTX
DeepInTheHeartOfTX

@accionamerica

According to Ferrovial's wikipedia entry, Ferrovial's net income for 2013 is around 720 million Euros. Converting that to the United States dollar, that's around 993 million USD... And if there was an error in the process of editing that article and the actual net income was in the billion range and not the million range then the actual net income for 2013 for Ferrovial was around 993 billion USD.

If it's NOT an error then there is someone else ALSO paying for this project because quite obviously the company Ferrovial would not be able to afford 4.5 billion USD.

Acciona seems to be an associate of Ferrovial (according to Ferrovial's website) and their net income, or revenue according to their wikipedia entry, was around 7 billion Euros, which is then converted to 9.65 billion USD...

Skeptical to find out how these two can afford such a project with a 4.5 million USD budget, I find this comment : "looks like there's federal funds in the project (fhwa/tifia loan) which means nepa and uniform relocation act apply."

The best part about this information is the fact that this was just a quick glance at the Ferrovial website. The fun begins. Wait until they try to censor me...

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

"Don't blame the homeowners for living next to LBJ, I am sure they were against the construction just as many of us who don't live there, but had no say in the process."

They should have moved.  I have no sympathy for someone who lives next to a freeway and complains about it.  Construction makes noise and dust and vibrations.  Things shift and get dusty.  If you don't like it, move.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@P1Gunter to be fair here, yes they knew about loud traffic in their backyard but they didnt move in thinking that flood lights would fill the house at 2 am and the house would shake for nights on end from construction.  otherwise, i like your comparison.  

tdkisok
tdkisok

@P1Gunter 


What the fuck are you talking about? Apples and pizza.

DeepInTheHeartOfTX
DeepInTheHeartOfTX

@accionamerica

Skeptical to find out how these two can afford such a project with a 4.5 million USD budget

Mean to say billion, not million. Sorry about that. I usually never proof read. =]  

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...