Chapter 6: Right of Way and Utilities

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Section 1: Introduction

The acquisition of right of way or other property and the accommodation of utilities located near or on property impacted by a transportation project necessitate close coordination between the state and the cities, counties and other forms of local government (LG). TxDOT has cooperated with LGs in the acquisition of real property and utility relocations for many decades. Projects on the state or national highway system, projects involving the intersections of LG roads with the state highway system or projects including state or federal funding program requirements are required to coordinate closely with TxDOT.

Right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation issues must be identified in the early phases of a transportation project. Details of the responsibilities of the LG and TxDOT must be included in the advance funding agreement and may be an integral part of the preliminary design. A state letter of authority and possibly a federal project authorization and agreement may be required prior to initiation of right-of-way acquisition or utility accommodation. The LG must follow the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 if any federal funds are used for any part of the project. This law applies even if the LG is providing all the funds for land acquisition or right-of-way purchase but is receiving federal funds for any part of engineering design or construction.

Right-of-way and utility issues will need to be resolved prior to the Construction phase for most transportation projects. This chapter of the Local Government Projects Policy Manual and the companion Local Government Project Management Guide provide general guidance to the LG for issues related to acquiring right of way and other land, relocation of utilities in the right of way and the provision of utility service to projects.

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