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Roadway Rights-of-Way: Understanding the Legal and Practical Issues


Identify and avoid pitfalls that can delay or increase costs of right-of-way acquisition.

Roadways exists to serve our transportation needs. Right-of-ways (ROW) are areas designated for that purpose. However, effective establishment and operations can be complicated due to technical and legal factors and rules and regulations. The consequences of mistakes due to ignorance or disregarding various intricacies of ROW can be both devasting in duration and intensity. Think for a moment how 'street smart' are you about ROW? This topic is intended to proactively equip and educate policy makers, design professionals, public administrators, and developers with the following topics. How have ROW evolved? Why are they needed? Who is involved with their creation? What legalities do I need to know? When are they established, modified, or terminated? Where can I find more information? Learning these as well what options exists, the rights and responsibilities of users and possessors, and what pitfalls to avoid at this time will minimize unnecessary expenses delays, and heartburn in the future.



Michael A. Wilmore, P.E.

Michael A. Wilmore, P.E.

Wilmore Engineering, LLC

  • Project manager with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation for nearly ten years and over 25 years in private practice as a consulting engineer for various public and private clients primarily relating to roadways, parks, and development sites
  • Practice focal areas are the assessments, design, review, administrative oversight, and construction of new and retrofitted trails, sidewalks, paths, intersections, and building entrances from rural to ultra-urban areas
  • Frequent speaker and creator of original technical and project-specific content to professional associations, students, and the public covering design, permits, administration, and construction of transportation-related civil engineering
  • Emphasis on human factors and context-appropriate engineering has led to many projects and personal awards, designation as a forensic expert witness, peer reviewer for the Transportation Research Board, and leadership roles with professional and community groups
  • M.B.A. degree, University of Maryland; B.S. degree in engineering, University of Kentucky
  • Can be contacted at 443-250-9227 or [email protected]

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