06/24/13 — Work on Berkeley moving forward

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Work on Berkeley moving forward

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on June 24, 2013 1:46 PM

Work is continuing on the Berkeley widening project as proceedings to condemn properties needed for the rights of way to begin relocating utilities outside of the work area come to a close.

Randy Guthrie, development services director in the Planning Department, said the condemnation process should take place in the next couple of weeks.

"We're close to through with acquiring those properties. We have most of them resolved," Guthrie said.

The project will add a right turn lane onto Royall Avenue from Berkeley Boulevard and construct another southbound lane from New Hope Road to connect with the section that is already a four-lane road.

The project is a joint venture between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the city.

The DOT is planning up to a year to complete the project after work begins, but it might take less time, Guthrie said.

The city is acquiring the rights of way and moving the utilities as well as drawing up the plans, which the DOT helped to pay for as its part of the project.

After the city has held up its end of the agreement, the DOT will come in and pay for the construction.

The city is acquiring 20 sections of property for the project,19 on the north side of Berkeley Boulevard and one on the south side in front of Adamsville Baptist Church, to replace a culvert under the road in front of the church.

The city is replacing the culvert with a larger one to improve drainage at the request of the church.

"Of the 20 properties, six, maybe seven may end up moving through the condemnation process," Guthrie said.

In the condemnation process, the city moves to acquire the land in situations when a land owner does not want to sell or cannot sell due to a land trust or being out of the country, Guthrie said.

The city will pay the price it offered the land owner as a deposit on the property, and the courts will decide what the value of the property is and the city will have to pay the difference, if there is any, Guthrie said.

At a later date, a right turn lane will also be constructed onto U.S. 70 off Berkeley Boulevard.