House move causes headaches

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By Jenny Hartley

A house became a headache for many drivers on U.S. 521 early Thursday morning.

David and Ashley Chiluck bought the Montgomery home on Charlotte Highway a couple of months ago and planned to move the home to Niven Road.

The first part of the couple's plan went OK. But moving a house is a much more difficult task than David Chiluck imagined.

The moving company, AABC House Moving, had a permit to move the house early Thursday morning. The going was slow, as movers tried to avoid taking down power lines along U.S. 521. The house traveled at times in the paved median, blocking one lane of traffic in the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 521, slowing commuter traffic.

"It was backed up pretty far in both directions," said S.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Burgess.

The Highway Patrol and state Transport Police responded, and finally made the movers pull the house over on a cleared lot at the corner of Rebound Road and U.S. 521.

"We were only a mile and a half from its final destination," Chiluck said.

The company's time limit, and thus, its permit to move the home, had expired, so the state Transport Police wrote the company a ticket, Burgess said.

"It was quite a daunting task," David Chiluck said Thursday afternoon. "I felt really bad about causing such a traffic mess this morning. It was stressful. I felt really bad for the commuters."

The Montgomery home was built in the early 1900s and was in the Montgomery family up until a few years ago, said Patsy Hillen, a family friend of the Montgomerys, and David Chiluck's mother-in-law.

It has many of its original features that have maintained the character of the old home, Hillen said.

It's been a challenge moving the home from the start.

Hillen said one moving company ran off with the family's money and never showed up to move it. And the family expected Thursday morning's move to last only two hours.

"It's been a nightmare," Hillen said, apologizing to the many drivers who may have encountered the home during their drive to work.

Still, the moving mishap hasn't put a damper on David and Ashley Chilucks' enthusiasm. They're looking forward to moving to the countryside of Niven Road and escaping the city of Charlotte.

The Chilucks will live next door to Hillen's mother, Ruth Lemmond. Hillen herself hails from Van Wyck and wants to move from Charlotte back to Lancaster County soon.

The moving process will begin again Thursday or Friday after Christmas, and the Chilucks hope to move into the house within two months.

"It's a beautiful home," Chiluck said. "We're very excited."

Billy Ward, co-owner of AABC House Moving, said two things were miscalculated before the move – the height of the utility wires over U.S. 521 and the time it would take to move the 1,620-square-foot home.

Ward thought it would take an hour to move it, but it took an hour just to get to the traffic light at Shiloh Unity Road, with several miles left to go.

The roof of the house hit a telephone wire, and the journey stopped while Comporium Communications fixed the problem. If Ward hadn't stopped, the wire would have come down across all four lanes of U.S. 521. "That was the biggest problem – the height," Ward said.

Ward's family has been moving houses for decades, and will be featured on an upcoming episode of HGTV's "Haulin' House."

"We're a good company," Ward said. "We do apologize and we're definitely sorry for any trouble it caused. It (the move) is on hiatus until after Christmas, but this time, it'll only take five minutes."

Contact Jenny Hartley

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