Residents Angry Over Tyler Road Expansion

From a peaceful neighborhood to a noisy construction zone, some Tyler residents are upset.  Their property, that many have lived on for more than 25 years, is about to be destroyed in the name of progress. As construction continues on the Grande extension near South Broadway, many homeowners in the Hampton Hills Road area want answers as to why it will cost them half their property for the road to come through.

"One of the reasons we bought this place originally is we would have no one right behind us, there, room to grow a garden," says 77 year old Jack Sheffield. He lived in the area for more than 27 years.

"It radically changes our home, our property to have this happen," said area resident Don Hennig.

As the city seeks to buy make the roads of Tyler easier to travel, a proposed construction easement has been assessed. It will, in some cases, take half of the existing property of some landowners. It will cut garages, fences, sprinkler systems, and even a pool in half. And even with all this trouble, the city says it's a needed move.

"That is one of the options and one we've looked at for some time for the need of an extended street to take some of the brunt of the traffic," according to Tyler city manager Bob Turner.

The two-year construction will link Grande with Paluxy, but Turner says the city is not steam rolling homeowners.  He says the city does want to work with the homeowners.

"We are well within our parameters to just go out there and do no more.  We don't  have to have any more meetings and say we're moving ahead, but we're taking a different tack.  We want to meet with the citizens, we recognize your needs, we're going to try to address as many of them as we can," Turner says.

"I'd like to see them abandon the project" said Sheffield.

Adding to irritation is the plan for biking and hiking trails to be built in the area, meaning more future construction. Homeowners in the extension area will be paid fair market value as compensation. Phase two of the Grande extension, from Sutherland drive to Paluxy, is expected to begin in 2006.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.