FORSYTH CO, Ga—Some homeowners along Union Hill Road in Forsyth County are not happy with the way a road widening project has gotten underway.
Param Gulsham is one of several homeowners jarred awake before 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning to the sound of heavy equipment tearing down trees.
Now, he and his family feel exposed.
“I purchased my house two years ago,” says Gulsham. “I was not informed at all this was going to happen by either party, the seller, agent, anyone.”
He is not the only one caught off-guard by a project years in the making.
“We thought we'd at least have time to plan for it, and we wake up, and there's a bulldozer in our backyard,” says Mike Smith.
Representatives of Forsyth County insists the information has been out there for years. The widening of Union Hill Road from two to four lanes was part of four SPLOST votes to fund the project. Information and plans are on the county website.
Forsyth County Commissioner Ted Levent says neighbors should not have to deal with construction noise before 6 a.m.
“Can you make sure it doesn't happen again?” asked 11Alive Commuter Dude Jerry Carnes.
“Absolutely,” Levent answered.
The county purchased property along Union Hill Road between 2005 and 2008. Homes have changed hands since then while new subdivisions have come along. Property owners who weren't part of the original negotiations are learning, in many cases, a sidewalk will replace the trees they desperately want back.
“We need it for the privacy,” says Nichole Cruzan. “We need it for buffering the sound and stopping power.”
Levent says the original property owners negotiated years ago for the replacement of trees or guardrails. He says none of this should be a surprise to those who live here.
“You would hope people would have disclosed it to their buyers,” says Levent.
“Are you willing to work with these folks, and listen to their concerns about safety and noise?” asked Carnes.
“Absolutely,” says Levent.
The project is scheduled to take a year.