When Faustine and Ernie Ballamis built their home, they chose a quiet, secluded lot on a lonesome country lane.

"It was a hayfield and the cemetery was across the street," Faustine Ballamis said. "I thought, `Well, we're safe.' I figured I was here for the rest of my life."That was 1948.

In the years that followed, the couple reared six children in that three-bedroom home on 9000 South. As they did, an entire city grew up around them.

In the late 1960s, the character of the neighborhood changed forever when I-15 rolled through. An interchange was put in at 9000 South, about a mile west of the Ballamis home. More recently, the ski connect road was added, spilling more traffic onto the former country road.

Now the state Department of Transportation plans to widen a milelong stretch of 9000 South to four lanes. But those plans don't include Faustine Ballamis, who now lives alone.

"My husband is buried right across the street in the cemetery, and so are my parents. I just wanted to stay here," said Ballamis, 75. "When you've lived in a house for so long and all your kids were raised there and you have 45 years of memories, it's hard to leave."

Ballamis is one of 30 homeowners on the north side of 9000 South, between State Street and 700 East, who have been forced to sell their homes to the state to make way for the road project. Another 13 homeowners are getting the boot so the state can widen a one-mile stretch of 9400 South, and between 10 and 20 homes might have to be removed along a 21/2-mile section of 700 East in Sandy.

Ballamis and her neighbors knew this day might come. They were warned some 25 years ago that the street would eventually be widened - again - and perhaps homes on both sides would have to go.

But with preparation or not, eviction has been hard for the many longtime residents to take. Many are 60 and older and in no mood to go house hunting - especially not with less money in their pockets than they feel they should have.

"It's very difficult to leave," said 71-year-old LaRee Anderson, who has served as spokeswoman for the neighborhood in discussions with the state. "We understand, however, at least my husband and I do, that they do need better roads in Sandy. They need a thoroughfare.

"It isn't that we're against, it's the money that they're offering. I don't know one soul that has been offered the appraised value."

Richard B. McAllister figures the state owes him about $40,000 more than he will get for his 9000 South home, which he built himself 31 years ago.

"They say they're giving you fair-market value, but the problem is they also turn around and say you're going to be in the middle of the road so you have no market value," said McAllister, 64. "One of our neighbors told the guy from the state, `Why don't you just line us up and shoot us? You're killing us, anyway.' "

Bob Fox, chief of right-of-way for UDOT, said the department paid independent appraisers to value the property and gave residents the option of hiring their own appraiser if they disagreed with the results.

On most projects where residential property must be taken, he said, only about 10 percent of the homeowners are dissatisfied with the amount of money the state offered them. He has no reason to believe that's not the case with residents on 9000 South, he said.

"My philosophy has been, if we're going to err on anybody's side, it's going to be to their benefit. We aren't out there to nickel and dime anybody," Fox said. "I frankly have not heard of any real problems (on 9000 South)."

Even if paid what they wanted for their homes, some residents said, they would have had trouble finding a new home in Sandy.

Finding anything has become the challenge, and some have had to pull money out of savings accounts to buy elsewhere. That's what LaRee and Reed Anderson are doing so they can move into a condominium in South Jordan.

Ballamis finally found a lot in West Jordan, well off the main road, where she is now having a small home built.

McAllister and his wife have been searching from St. George to Tremonton over the past three years.

"We've seen thousands of homes, and we know they're charging ridiculously higher prices than we're going to get for inferior homes that've been beaten to death," said McAllister, who taught for 37 years in the Jordan School District. "Here I am retired, my wife is retired and disabled, we're on a fixed income, and we're going to have to go in debt to buy an equivalent home.

"The only benefit to moving away from here would be to get away from the traffic on 9000 South."

Some of the folks who'll be left behind aren't too pleased, either.

Naomi Granquist, who lives with her adult daughter in a home on the south side of 9000 South, will soon have a construction project to put up with. When it's completed, she suspects, even more cars will zoom past the home she's lived in for 23 years.

"I'm not happy," said Granquist, 77. "No. 1, they haven't promised us anything as far as noise abatement, putting up a sound wall - not a thing like that has been mentioned."

UDOT engineers said sound walls are planned for parts of 9000 South.

Granquist said she'd consider selling her home but doesn't think she'd get much for it.

"I mean, who wants to move here now?" she said. "I'll stay here as long as I can because I'm retired and if I moved out it would cost me more, and I can't sign up for more payments."

So Granquist will cover her ears, continue to pick up the cigarette butts that are tossed out of cars and into her front yard, and hang on. When she looks out the front windows, when the traffic doesn't block her view, she'll see her friends packing up and moving out.

Many already have. Several homes have been demolished.

Ballamis has until Jan. 26 to move, but her new house won't be finished by then. She hopes the state will give her more time.

The Andersons and McAllisters have yet to sign agreements with the state. Once they do, they'll have 105 days to vamoose.

That'll give McAllister some time to reflect on the good ol' days, the days when he could walk home from teaching at Jordan High - a distance of a mile - and be passed by only a handful of cars on his way; the days before progress determined his neighborhood's fate.

"They can call it progress if they want," Ballamis said. "I think we got a dirty deal, to tell you the truth."