With a mission of “connecting you with Texas,” the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans to move forward with their Interstate 45 Central Walker County Project, which will update the interstate that passes through the west side in Huntsville.
The I-45 Central Walker County Project plans to address the congestion and mobility issues found along the corridor, according to TxDOT’s official website. Built-in the early 1960s, the I-45, serves as the primary hurricane and disaster evacuation route for metro Houston and Galveston.
The project separates into two segments, 2A and 2B, which include the widening from four lanes to six, improved drainage, realignment of main lanes, ramps, and overall improvement. Segment 2A was funded $200 million with construction beginning in fall 2021. Segment 2B has not yet been funded and plans to start construction in fall 2023.
With the widening of lanes and overall infrastructural changes, the project calls for more land to expand on, which calls for eminent domain.
Eminent domain is the governments ability to acquire private property for public use only if they provide just payment to the owners, according to Cornell Law School.
Kim’s Home and Garden Center became an eminent domain with the I-45 updates, which moved their location to 2715 Lake Road.
“It is definitely a racket. I’ve learned a lot about eminent domain,” owner Kim Stewart-Bius said. “If you do not have the funds to fight the state of Texas, they will roll over you as if they never stopped.”
Smaller businesses who fall into eminent domain must find a fair market value to negotiate with the state.
While the new infrastructure will be a much-needed advancement for the city of Huntsville, some businesses are still wondering where to go next.