Section 3: ROW Record Requirements

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General Objectives

In the acquisition of land for ROW and other highway purposes, complete records and files must be maintained to document the various processes, conclusions, and actions of TxDOT relative to each step of evaluation, acquisition and disposition. Various operations of TxDOT (in acquiring properties, selling improvements, and in the ultimate disposal of properties no longer needed for highway purposes) are subject to close scrutiny, both now and at any time in the future. While certain features of a transaction might be clearly understood at the time an action is taken, this understanding might not be as clear at a later date unless detailed documentation is provided which shows all the facts pertinent to the transaction.

To simplify and facilitate orderly development of a ROW project, payments and records should be maintained on a parcel basis, determined by the parcel identification numbers assigned on the ROW map. From the inception of the ROW project, all appraisals, approved values, payments, conveyance instruments and related items should be initiated, processed, accounted for, and permanently filed on the basis of the assigned parcel numbers. Since the entire ROW procedure is based upon the parcel numbers assigned, any changes in the parcel numbers requires corresponding corrections of all existing records of the activity on the parcel. This involves correcting Region, LPA, and ROW Division records. Therefore, if a parcel or parcel number is added, deleted or changed in any way, correct all copies of the ROW map and inform the ROW Division, in detail, of the action and of all transfers of charges or cancellations of values to be made as a result of the change in the identifying parcel number. Only by following this procedure can values remain correct and payment properly charged.

Keep ROW records in a manner that facilitates and supports a final closing of the project which will indicate the total cost of each parcel and the total project cost.

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Specific Requirements (for State and LPA)

ROW acquisition records must be retained for four years after a project is closed. FHWA may audit the records at any time to verify that FHWA ROW acquisition requirements were met.

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ROW Cost Records

To facilitate recording of ROW costs, as well as establishing a system to facilitate a final audit, parcel and project costs must be recorded in a manner that allows them to be accumulated by categories of expenditures. The Region must maintain cost records broken down to show at least the following items of parcel costs:

  • land,
  • damages and adjustments,
  • improvements,
  • title,
  • appraisal fees,
  • court costs,
  • miscellaneous (to include those costs normally submitted directly to the Finance Division for payment),
  • relocation costs, and
  • credits (net amount received from sale of improvements)
  • utility adjustments.
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ROW Project Progress Records

For proper control of progress on each ROW project, the Region should establish and maintain project progress records. These records should indicate, by individual parcels, progress being made toward acquisition. Close control and coordination are essential if the Region is to have the necessary ROW available when construction is scheduled.

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Miscellaneous Records Maintenance

In addition to the project progress and cost records, the Region should also maintain files and records relative to:

  • approved appraisers,
  • approved appraisal fees,
  • appraisal contracts,
  • appraisal reports,
  • efficiency records for appraisers,
  • approved values for negotiation,
  • copies of executed Memorandums of Agreement (if applicable),
  • standard Purchase Agreements,
  • utility agreements,
  • notice of proposed installation (utilities),
  • complete negotiation reports documenting and supporting the negotiation for each ROW parcel,
  • leases, and
  • other items as set forth throughout this manual.
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Final Close-Out of ROW Projects

Projects should be closed out promptly after all ROW is acquired and utility adjustments are accomplished. However, make provisions for all charges (e.g., utility audits, charges for reduction of the final map). When ROW acquisition is completed and all expenses paid and properly charged to the project, submit the following to the ROW Division:

  • Statement of Cost
  • ROW-RM-9, Final Disposition of Improvements. One copy. Submit promptly after all improvements are disposed of. See also Closing Out the Inventory.
  • One hardcopy of the final ROW map and electronic copy, if available.
  • Parcel Summary Report by Project from ROWIS.

To successfully and completely close a ROW project, all instruments of conveyance for all ROW parcels and the necessary evidence of title must be submitted to the ROW Division. All necessary joint use agreements with utility companies must be secured and final payment made for eligible utility adjustment costs. Also, all relocation obligations must be met and payments made. The ROW Division advises the Finance Division in writing that the project is closed.

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