HASLET, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Some homeowners in Haslet, north of Fort Worth, say a project meant to improve their street has damaged their homes and possibly their foundations.
The city had warned residents in the Brentwood Park neighborhood to expect the construction, so neighbors were not surprised when the equipment appeared. However they were shocked at the power of one of the machines.
“I came in the kitchen and all the dishes were clinking,” said Andrew Polizzo. His father was on the phone with his mother at the time. “He says ‘it’s vibrating the house. I’m sitting in the chair, in the recliner and it’s vibrating,'” said Chris Polizzo.
Her neighbor, Darrell Shelton, felt the same thing. “You could hear it back there rattling, you could feel the shaking,” he said.
Hours later, Polizzo and Shelton say they began noticing changes around their homes. “The damage that we first noticed was on the floor,” said Polizzo, pointing to several large tiles that were cracked. She also showed Consumer Justice cracks over doorways, on the ceiling and in the brick on the front of the home.
Shelton says the shaking reversed thousands of dollars in recent foundation repairs, opening up cracks in multiple rooms.
He says the door on the bathtub that was installed for his elderly mother now won’t close without his help. “Just the difficulty… for her to do this. She’s not strong enough.”
The neighbors say a vibratory roller caused the shaking that led to the damage. The machine’s roller compresses the ground while the vibration function drives out air pockets.
Shelton says he recognized it from his days as a construction equipment salesman. “They’re not supposed to be used near home. I know what they do,” he said. “I understand on a highway, I understand that. But you’re up here 30 feet from somebody’s home?”
Vibratory rollers have been blamed for damage before, but research shows it’s hard to prove. CBS11 found studies in Arizona, Florida and Canada documenting the potentially hazardous effects.
A TxDOT spokesman says the agency uses the machines on a case-by-case basis for state highway projects.
Haslet’s engineer told Consumer Justice that DDM Construction Corporation was “following standard guidelines,” and stopped using the vibratory function after the complaints. Neighbors who went to the city about the damage were told to file a claim with DDM but they say reaching someone at the company was not easy. “I called, I never got an answer,” said Polizzo.
Both Polizzo and Shelton attended a city council meeting to share their stories and get help from city officials.
Consumer Justice contacted DDM several times over the course of a month, but the company never responded to the calls and emails.
When Consumer Justice visited the company’s office in Addison, a receptionist said homeowners’ claims had been “passed along” to the DDM’s insurance company. She then told us to leave the property.
DDM has yet to respond to Consumer Justice but recently sent insurance adjusters to Polizzo’s and Shelton’s homes. Both hope it’s the first step to making things right. “I just want my home fixed,” said Polizzo. “That road was not worth my home [or] my neighbors’ homes.”