Right of Way Easements 101

In most cases, transportation agencies need to access small amounts of private property. Types of projects may include sidewalks, sewers, ADA improvements, utilities and road widening. Acquiring these rights are frequently accomplished by easement; an easement can be a temporary or perpetual right. Although typically small in square footage, these easements are still required to follow the Uniform Relocation Act (URA) when FHWA is the funding source. The most commonly used easements are defined below:

Temporary easements: Used when the agency requires a right of temporary nature. In most cases the rights required are not beneficial to the owner so compensation is paid. This could include blending of driveways and sidewalks after construction.

Permanent easements: Used when the agency needs a continuing, nonexclusive right to enter upon the property. Most utilities are acquired using a permanent easement.

Access Rights: Defines the legal access location for ingress/egress of the property.

The drawing below illustrates how easements can affect a property.

About the author

Roxanne Grimm

Roxanne Grimm, Associate Principal is an accidental Right of Way professional who has spent 23 years of her career working in state government and the last five years in the private sector as a Right of Way consultant. She is a real estate junkie and is currently building a tiny house with her dad.

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