Eminent Domain: Chesapeake Bypass Project Still Planned

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Although the Chesapeake Bypass project has been stalled for quite some time, the project has not been abandoned. The Ohio Department of Transportation has announced that it will seek $65 million in state and federal funding for the project. When a governmental agency needs property for public projects, eminent domain is always a possibility.

Construction of a highway to link the Portsmouth Bypass with the Village of Chesapeake and U.S. 52 has been considered for at least 25 years.

“We are still pursuing it as a project and funding wherever we can,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for ODOT District 9. ODOT planned to apply for funding from the Transportation Review Advisory Council. A decision from that agency is expected before year’s end. Funding from TRAC would fund the remaining real estate acquisition and construction.

A total of 105 property owners will be impacted by the proposed bypass. Of those 40 would be “total takes” and 57 properties have buildings on them. Fourteen parcels have already been obtained, 11 of which had homes on them. To date, ODOT has spent $1,578,805 for land acquisition and consulting services – $777,360 remains for the initial round of purchases.

“We are just approaching interested property owners,” said Fuller. “The only ones acquired are total takes where the entire property has to be acquired. Our real estate department is currently working on acquiring two parcels and thety are researching the possibility of acquiring a third. They are also looking to identify a few other parcels for early acquisition.”

As originally proposed, the Chesapeake Bypass was to be a four-lane highway. ODOT plans to obtain rights of way for a four-lane highway, although the revised plan may result in construction of a two-lane highway instead.

Fuller stated “We have scaled it back working with a consultant. It is now a super two with an acceleration lane in some places, but it is basically two lanes. We don’t have a final design, but by building a super two we can bring the price down.”

If you are a property owner who may be affected by the Chesapeake Bypass, or any other public construction project, you have rights that must be protected. Contact the Ohio eminent domain attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.