9 Investigates

Homeowners claim Wekiva Parkway construction is damaging their homes

MOUNT DORA, Fla. — Frustrated homeowners living near construction related to the Wekiva Parkway extension reached out to 9 Investigates, desperate for help.

The construction is underway near State Road 46 in Mount Dora, next to the Southernaire mobile home park.  Residents believe the vibration from ongoing construction is damaging their homes.

Some of the damage isn’t visible until you take a wrong step and realize the floor inside the homes is no longer level.

The homeowners' association director at the community said he knows of at least four homes with damage that the owners believe was caused by the construction.

“My house was not like this before all this started,” mobile home owner Cindy Russell said.

Russell showed 9 Investigates the soft spots and cracks across her floors, as well as separation between her ceiling and the seal of the wall.  She believes the damage occurred amid vibrations from crews working on the 441 and State Road 46 interchange for the Wekiva Parkway extension.

“With all the vibrations and shaking, the particle board is basically splitting, lifting, sinking in areas, and the floor is caving in,” Russell said.

Next door, at Ron Cruz’s home of two decades, it’s the same story.  He also has dips in his floor, and water leaks have pushed paneling away from the wall.

“It sinks down probably two inches, and I said, ‘We're gonna fall right through this floor,’” Cruz said.

Cruz and Russell said they have filed claims for property damage through the Florida Department of Transportation’s website. Russell keeps her claim number on her fridge as a reminder to keep checking on its status. However, two months after she says she started the process, she’s still waiting for a response.

“If I fall through the floor, nobody's going to be here to help me,” Russell said.

With construction far from over, residents worry things will get worse.

“I'm not looking to make money.  I just want them to fix what's wrong.  And I think that's what the other residents are doing also.  They’re not looking to take advantage of [FDOT] financially, just fix what's wrong,” Cruz said.

Florida Department of Transportation officials told 9 Investigates that they do not discuss individual claims.  A spokesperson said time required to review a claim is on a case-by-case basis.

Anyone who believes their home has been damaged by the construction or any other FDOT project can file a claim here.

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.