Brazos County files eminent domain lawsuits against landowners on I & GN Road

Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 6:17 PM CST
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On Feb. 21, Brazos County filed an eminent domain lawsuit against two landowners that live on I & GN Road so they can start construction on the once busy road.

In August 2018, a portion of I & GN Road was blocked off due to a large crack that Brazos County engineers ruled unsafe. Immediately after, they began planning.

“The current road is going to be lowered by five to six feet,” said Brazos County Engineer Prarthana Banerji.

This will help fix issues they’ve had in the past, said Banerji. Along with lowering the road, they will also have to fix drainage issues on the road. To fix these issues, Brazos County will have to put in new box culverts.

“These large box culverts are going to replace their driveway and take up a larger space,” said Banerji. “In general, we don’t want trees to be around our infrastructure because they are a hazard.”

It’s those trees the county doesn’t want near their infrastructure that has two landowners not cooperating. KBTX’s Hope Barnett spoke with the landowners being sued by the county, and they said they just want their trees replanted.

“An eminent domain lawsuit is a lawsuit where a government has the ability to use someone’s property even when they may or may not be willing,” said Assistant Brazos County Attorney Bruce Erratt.

The landowners said they support all the changes Brazos County wants to make to I & GN Road, but they just want to keep their privacy the current trees are providing.

The next step is for three land commissioners to be appointed to the case to determine how much the land in question costs.

“Once the commissioners say this is what it’s worth, the county deposits that money, and then we move forward,” said Erratt.

Erratt said they simply want to fix the road, the right way.

“Our goal and I’m sure their goal is that we’ll still be friends when this is all over, we just need someone else to tell us what the value is,” said Erratt.

“The most important thing for us is that people get to one place from the other safely,” said Banerji.

Banerji could not give us details on how long the process of reconstructing will take just yet, but we will keep the community updated as we learn more.