Anchor: #i1004834

Section 15: Control of Access Rights (for State and LPA)

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The entire interstate highway system and portions of the State highway system may be designated by the Commission as controlled access highways. Consequently, along these highways, it is necessary to either limit or completely deny abutting owner access rights. These access rights include right of ingress and egress and right of direct access to and from the abutting property.

This access may be controlled under the State's police power. However, the right of access to an existing highway is a part of the rights possessed by the owner of abutting property. Although this right may be limited or completely denied under the State's police power, property owners may be entitled to be compensated for damages suffered due to loss of this access, including entrance ramps, exit ramps, intersections, and other affected areas.

Under provisions of the Transportation Code, §203.031, abutting property owners are denied access to any controlled access highway on new location, unless there is a specific grant of access. Damages may not be claimed for denial of access to the new facility. The reasoning is that the owner can not be damaged by losing something that he never had.

If an existing road is converted into a controlled access facility and the design does not include initial construction of frontage roads, there may be a taking of the owner's access rights. However, there is no taking of access rights if:

  • an existing road is converted into a controlled access facility, and
  • the design includes frontage roads in the initial construction, and
  • the abutting owner is provided access to these frontage roads. Note that access to frontage roads constitutes access to the facility.

Further control of movement on the frontage roads may be required. This may include one-way traffic, no U-turns, no left or right turns, denial of direct access to through lanes, or circuitous routes. These controls are covered under the State's police power and place no more control over the abutting owner than is placed on the public. These controls are not compensatory. However, Section 21.042 of the Property Code requires compensation when there is a "material impairment of direct access on or off the remaining property that affects the market value of the remaining property."

If the owner is not willing to negotiate, access rights may be acquired through ED proceedings. In some cases, TxDOT's appraisal and approved value may show no decreased value due to denial of access. When only access rights (and not additional right of way) are being acquired, request the abutting owner to execute a Form ROW-N-13, Release and Relinquishment of Access Rights.

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