Anchor: #i998931

Section 2: Control of Access Fences (for State)

Anchor: #i998936

Procedure

Control of access fences may be built along or immediately inside control of access lines to serve as physical barriers to the through lanes. They may also be built along the right of way to safeguard against traffic hazards caused by intrusion of people, animals, vehicles, machines, etc., from outside the right of way. All control of access fencing will be accomplished as a construction item.

The policy decision to permit construction of control of access fences along the right of way, where access from abutting property to the highway facility is permitted, was made after most Interstate right of way was acquired. Consequently, in some cases these fences may be built but no additional right of way is needed. However, if additional right of way will be acquired, make an engineering determination of the need for access fencing so that right of way and design requirements can be coordinated. For projects in the preliminary development stage, make this decision at the schematic stage so that FHWA approval may be obtained and right of way appraisals made on the proper basis.

When control of access fences are needed as part of the highway facility, acquisition through negotiation or condemnation should be on the basis that the fences will be constructed and maintained by TxDOT, and that they will also serve as property fences. Landowners should not be given the option of accepting payment for an unfenced condition, or of letting TxDOT do the fencing. These fences are part of the highway facility. If an owner is paid for fencing but chooses not to fence the right of way, an unsafe condition exists and TxDOT has to build the fencing. Even if an owner does build a fence, there is no assurance that it will be maintained or that it will not be removed in the future.

When State-owned fencing is proposed and access is permitted, gate and cattle guard policies are similar to those for rural private entrance. Gates and cattle guards in the initial fencing should be held to a minimum, but they must be installed in conformance with land use requirements. After initial fence installation, additional gates or cattle guards will be subject to TxDOT approval, and the property owner is required to furnish necessary materials onsite.

When access fences are installed by TxDOT and additional right of way is purchased, include a clause similar to the following (but adapted to the specific situation) in the MOA (or purchase agreement):

“The Texas Department of Transportation will install and maintain a fence along the right of way line and no gates will be permitted where access is denied. Where access is permitted, TxDOT's original installation shall include (number) gates (or cattle guards) located as follows: (location description).

Additional future gates or cattle guards shall be located subject to TxDOT approval and will be installed by TxDOT. Grantors agree that they will not install any gates or cattle guards, or cut or otherwise damage the State-owned fence, and that they will deliver at the gate or cattle guard site the required materials meeting TxDOT specifications for TxDOT installation of approved additional gates or cattle guards. The fence and all gates, whether installed originally or in the future, shall be and remain in the ownership of the State.”

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