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Rt. 228 Work Could Force Some Residents Out Of Homes

BUTLER COUNTY – Some people who live along Route 228 in Butler County may be forced to sell their homes and move.

The Butler Eagle reports, at least six properties are in the way of a new road construction project.

Dozens of other property owners may have to make changes to their homes because of the plans.

PennDOT wants to widen and straighten the road near the area called Ball's Bend. Officials want to remove the sharp curves and make way for a new, five-lane highway that will intersect with Route 8.

The Mars School District would like that, given the frequency of school bus usage on the narrow, winding road, but has not endorsed a specific approach to removing the bend. PennDOT cites emergency vehicles difficulty as well.

Officials say the homeowners who need to move will be paid fair market value for their properties. PennDOT also plans to help people who are displaced relocate to a similar property nearby.

"I agree they should do something. When we showed up to our meeting to see it for the first time back in November, we were shocked. We were expecting to see expansion, not that it was moved up into our front yard and coming through us," said Dena Fantin, who is among the property owners who could be affected.

People who disagree with PennDOT's estimate of their home's value can get their own appraisal, and the state is willing to pay for the service. They can then negotiate a fair value.

As for the people who will not need to move, they may need to make changes to their property, like changing the path of their driveway or living close to the new road.

Some of the property owners who will be affected by the project have already been notified.

A complete timeline for the project still hasn't been finalized. Officials are still meeting with supervisors and residents from nearby townships to hear their concerns.

A preliminary timeline calls for properties to start being sold and taken in late 2016 or early 2017. Construction isn't expected to begin until 2019.

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