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Section 2: Right of Way Map and Property Descriptions

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This section describes preparing and submitting right of way maps, and property descriptions before acquiring property for a project. To ensure accuracy, the project manager must maintain strong coordination with the project engineers and surveyors.

40200. Prepare right of way map and property descriptions

40210. Controlled access highway adjoining public/private real property

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40200: Prepare right of way map and property descriptions

Description. Right of way (ROW) maps and property descriptions are prepared to describe each parcel of land to be acquired. These documents are prepared after project location and design acceptance is obtained. Since they will form a vital part of future legal instruments (e.g., property deeds, eminent domain documents), these documents must be accurate and must be prepared by a Registered Public Land Surveyor. Preparation of these items is a ROW expense; therefore, funding approval and a right of way control-section-job (RCSJ) should be obtained from the ROW Division after the Commission has given project DEVELOP approval.

Pertinent Project Types. Projects requiring additional ROW whether fee title, easement, or other real property interests (e.g., access)

Responsible Party. Project manager and Regional ROW Project Delivery Workforce assigned to the district


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  • Coordinate with the roadway design engineer to determine proposed ROW limits including temporary and drainage easements, and access denial areas.
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  • Obtain and/or verify project specific ROW control‑section‑job (RCSJ) numbers and check the project setup to be sure the project data is correct in the department portfolio and project management program.
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  • Deliver the approved project schematic to the land surveyor, and discuss ROW issues in detail. Obtain an expected delivery date for ROW documents.
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  • The surveyor verifies property ownership and performs field survey of existing ROW and property lines.
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  • Coordinate any required use of railroad ROW with Rail Division (RRD).
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  • The land surveyor identifies and verifies real property improvements to be acquired.
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  • The roadway design engineer performs a quality control check on the completed ROW maps, and property descriptions, comparing them to the project schematic design, or construction plans if available.
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  • Submit ROW map and property descriptions to the Right of Way Division to obtain ROW project release.

Helpful Suggestions.

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  • Stay in communication with the surveyor preparing the map to answer questions, provide updated ROW requirements for minor modifications, additions, or deletions of ROW.
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  • If the project is in PS&E development and ROW planning concurrently, the project manager should encourage clear communication between all engineers and the land surveyor. In this situation, the drainage engineer may develop the need for a drainage easement, the traffic engineer may develop the need for additional fee title at an intersection, the roadway design engineer may develop the need for additional easements or fee title due to construction on soft soils, etc. All these conditions need to be identified and communicated as early as possible in the ROW phase.
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  • Seemingly minor errors can have major effects on the acquisition of ROW, especially in the area of eminent domain proceedings. A single discrepancy between a ROW map, parcel plat, or legal description has the potential for disrupting the eminent domain process. Consequently, accuracy is extremely important.
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  • Locate and generally describe existing improvements, such as buildings, fences, gates, billboards, signs, driveways, major landscape features (e.g., large trees), on ROW maps and parcel plats. This information will be used later by the appraiser to determine the value of the property – including land and/or improvements.

Critical Sequencing.

Resource Material.

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40210: Controlled access highway adjoining public/private real property

Description. Access management is a process of sound principles and policies to administer the connections between public highways and adjoining land. The department must balance the need for business and community with the need for safe and efficient travel. Well-planned access helps maintain property values and promotes safe and efficient transportation for the public.

The commission may designate a state highway system as a controlled access facility. Consequently, it is necessary to limit or completely deny an abutting owner of property access rights.

Direct access will be controlled and determined prior to right of way acquisition. Direct access to frontage roads in vicinity of a ramp is prohibited.

When public or private property owners are denied access, the right of way deeds will describe the access. Damages cannot be claimed for denial of access to a new facility, since the owner cannot be damaged by something that he never had.

Temporary access is permitted where a property would be landlocked. The access permit will clearly state terms and conditions of the temporary connection and conditions of the permanent access connection.



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