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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Highway Construction Interfering With Access to Property

    The State of Washington DOT is constructing a revision to a major intersection where two highways connect. The contractor has been making major surface revisions, and installing a sewer main into the county owned right-of-way, which provides the private access to my rental property. This county right-of-way is a side street in the immediate area of the highway, but is seperate from the major roadwork. This has been in progress for quite some time now, and the access leading to my driveway has been mostly left in a condition involving deep holes, mud, and barely wide enough to drive on. Steel plates that spanned open trenches were removed for work, and access was not possible, without replacement of the steel plates to drive over. The latest issue involved the complete unannounced trenching, directly in front of my private easement, which prevented access for several hours. Calls to the local DOT project manager have been made, and several heated discussions with construction crews have taken place, but it appears that the contractor has free run to get the job done, without regard for residents needing reasonable access to their property. Are there any laws that may help me to get the DOT/contractors attention?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: What to do.

    your opinion of "reasonable" and theirs will almost assuredly be different.

    Not having access for a couple of hours is not unreasonable considering the work being done.

    What did the DOT tell you?

  3. #3

    Default Re: What to do.

    Start with a formal complaint in writing to the project manager copying the contractor and main DOT office.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What to do.

    The DOT represenative stated that the Contractor was told to keep the access open. He agreed that what I had described was unacceptable, and he would address the issue. Things continued, and another call revealed that the first DOT rep. no longer was involved with the project. The current DOT rep. has also agreed that the Contractor should not be leaving the access in that condition, nor preventing access for any extended periods of time as I described to him. It now appears that the Contractor is finished with the main work, which was creating the major access issues. My point to the DOT rep. was that I do understand the scope of work involved, but felt somewhat dissapointed that the Contractor did not post information to the effect that access would be completely prohibited at times. It has been difficult to rent with these issues, and when just rented, difficult to keep the new tenant happy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What to do.

    This issue was addressed verbally via phone conversations several times. Unfortunitly, I accepted the DOT represenatives assurance that the blocked access and road condition was indeed unacceptable, and he would take care of it. I was told that there had been a meeting with the Contractor, and that things would be done correctly from now on. It was after that verbal assurance that I felt things were resolved. The Contractor then pulled his trump card by completely closing the access off for approximetly 3 hours, without any advance notice. The work is for the most part is finished. I would suspect that as a major Contracting firm, they realize that it is much easier to just do whatever is needed, get in and get out, with any complaints now being moot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,583

    Default Re: Highway Construction Interfering With Access to Property

    It is all after the fact now, but having dealt with DOT's for decades I would recommend that you start with your ombudsman:

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/contact/ombudsman.htm

    Hopefully you have the names of the personnel who promised you fair treatment, and then flunked. If so, pass on your testimony to their failure, including names, times, dates, etc. Not likely you will get much satisfaction, but you will finally get a written response.

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