Angry neighbors of the massive LBJ Express freeway reconstruction tried to enter the project offices Thursday demanding answers to their nuisance complaints.
The neighbors claim loud, brightly lit work is unnecessarily being done at night, while people are trying to sleep, when it could be done during the day.
“Since they started construction 2-and-a-half, 3 years ago, we’ve had no peace, whatsoever. We have the big lights, the stadium lights, facing our homes,” Farmers Branch resident Amado Palavicini said.
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He believes the company building the project is pushing to speed completion to win bonuses at the expense of those who live nearby.
“We want them to stop construction, 8, even 9 o’clock would be decent, you know?” Palavicini said.
The neighbors approached the project offices Thursday evening, chanting “peace and tranquility.”
But Farmers Branch police officers came out and told them no one from the office would speak to them. The officers ordered the protesters to take their demonstration to the curb.
Since the work began, Farmers Branch neighbor Jerry Jones said serious cracks have appeared in his home which is immediately beside the freeway widening project.
He said neighbors want compensation.
“Just give us some kind of recognition of fairness, ‘Man, We know you’ve got problems out here. We’re going to address them.’ Because if they build this freeway, they’ve got to have some kind of budget to take care of the homeowners,” Jones said.
Jones also claims the sound barrier wall behind his home does not block the construction noise, but does provide a screen for criminals in his alley compared to the chain link fence that was there before.
“It’s provided protection for somebody who’s walking through the alley late at night,” he said.
Palavicini said he signed up for traffic alerts from LBJ Express when the project began so he would know when construction would block area streets.
Now he claims traffic detours occur with no warning, so he is often blocked from getting to his home.
“Now they don’t send me the information,” he said.
LBJ Express officials declined a request for an interview but spokesperson Heather DeLapp provided a statement in response to the demonstrators.:
“We take every homeowner complaint seriously. We have opened an investigation and are working with each homeowner to address their specific complaints. To that end, we have asked the homeowners to provide us with documentation of their complaints so that they can be thoroughly analyzed. We are currently waiting to receive this information from the homeowners so that our investigation can proceed.”
“We strive to mitigate the impact of construction activities in residential areas, but with a project of this size, it is unavoidable that some individuals will be inconvenienced during construction. The homeowners have demanded cessation of nighttime construction. However, certain construction activities must occur during night hours in order to comply with our contractual obligations to the State of Texas and minimize disruption to the more than 250,000 vehicles that pass through the corridor each day.”
Reconstruction of the LBJ Freeway is one of the largest highway projects in the world. It is in a highly congested corridor surrounded by a large amount of businesses and residents that create unique challenges. The unique delivery method of this project has allowed construction to proceed efficiently in order to allow complete reconstruction of the LBJ Freeway for the people of the State of Texas by late 2015, nearly a decade faster than would have been possible under a more traditional construction method.”
“The LBJ Freeway was built in 1969 and with no significant upgrades since then, it is now the second most congested highway in the State of Texas. Reconstruction is both needed and over-due. We are confident that the new LBJ Freeway will provide a better experience for drivers, businesses and residents alike once construction is complete. “