Five Virginia homes are in the path of the Interstate 66 expansion, and the residents are concerned about their relocation.
Kwong Hii doesn’t use I-66 for his commute. He has a four-minute walk to the Dunn Loring Metro station.
“Across the street is the Metrorail station I take to work every day,” he said.
He and his wife, Siew Lee, are relying on the Virginia Department of Transportation for their next home because their house, along with the homes of their four neighbors, will be demolished for the I-66 project.
“We need to be moved to a functionally equivalent home,” she said.
Dolores Desjardins, 82, has lived there for 47 years. Her home is slated for demolition, too. She said VDOT wants her out by the end of the year.
“It kind of puts us in limbo, you know, that we don’t know what’s happening,” she said.
Her daughter, Noelle Vaughan, traveled from Texas to help her mother move this summer, but so far that’s not happening.
“Time is of the essence,” Vaughan said. “She’s elderly. She’s about to undergo knee surgery, that she had been putting off and thinking she’d be in her new home.”
Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax County) acknowledges the benefits to a wider highway — especially for those who live farther out and commute in — but he’s concerned for residents of his district.
“VDOT and its contractors are nickel-and-diming my constituents over the price of their fair market value homes that they’re going to be taking,” he said.
VDOT said it is working with a private partner to work “individually with each of these impacted property owners.” The properties go through “a fair market appraisal,” VDOT said, and they work “to find comparable homes” for the residents.
The residents know they cannot save their houses. Their focus is finding an equally convenient and comfortable spot to make into a home.
“My church is close by and my friends,” Desjardins said.
“VDOT has told us that they’ll try to move us during the summer time so school doesn’t get affected so much, but it hasn’t been that way,” Hii said.
Keam said he is pressing VDOT for a meeting.
“We only have a matter of a few weeks, if not months, before these five families need to disrupt their lives, literally pack everything up, find a new home, get settled in,” he said.