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Eminent domain proceedings filed over County 37 road

Tree signs like this line County 37. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Eminent domain proceedings have begun against six landowners with 10 parcels of property along Hubbard County 37, but bids will still be let for the project June 14.

The legal proceedings will only slow access to those properties, said Hubbard County engineer Dave Olsonawski.

The plan is to begin grading the natural resource road after the July 4th holiday. The road will be moved a few feet away from the south shore of Kabekona Lake, but not substantially rerouted.

The project has been controversial and the defendants in the proceedings have been vocally opposed to altering what they say should be a pristine route through the forest. They worry a widened road will attract more traffic and speeding could make it a safety hazard.

Olsonawski said the proceedings typically carry a 90-day waiting period for county officials to work on the land and work out a solution with the holdouts, so work will begin in other areas of the project.

The eventual plan, after grading and widening, is to pave the route with asphalt in 2013, Olsonawski said.

Meanwhile more signs have appeared on the eastern end of the project, near County Road 39, to preserve certain trees from being cleared along the road right-of-way.

A hearing in the case is set for Aug. 10. If there are still persons refusing to sign the right-of-way agreements, independent appraisers will assign a monetary value of the land that is being taken, for a judge to review.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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