With summer comes many new construction and development projects and officials with the department of highways say it's during this time they see a big increase in people violating the state's right of way regulations.
WYMT’s Matt Barbour had the chance to tag along with the permits supervisor for highway district 12 and he shared that whether it's laying pipes, gas lines or putting up signs for private or commercial projects, many don't realize they need the proper permits to do so.
For this commercial project off of Highway 114 in Floyd County, the developer is doing a lot of work.
“He took down some of our right of way fence, he had some drainage issues here that he had to correct. He had some existing water and sewer lines that he had to relocate,” Gene Layne Jr.
Gene Layne is a permits engineer for the department of highways and says any project located near state roadways requires the proper permits.
“Anyone that wants to work on the state highway, county, city, federal, private individual or anyone else, has to contact our office, our permits office,” Layne said.
He says this project is a good example of following proper procedure.
“He contacted us first to get all the proper paperwork for his permits and things like that and everything just fell in line with him,” Layne said.
However, this isn't always the case.
Layne says an ongoing problem for the department is people putting up signs near highways that may block a driver's view of oncoming traffic. If that sign violates the right of way...it has to go.
Layne says most of the time people don't even realize when they're encroaching on the state's right of way.
“The excuse a lot of people use is, 'It's my land.' a lot of people think they own to the center of every highway, well you don't. The state highway owns anywhere to 30 foot to 100 foot to 300 hundred from the center of our roadway over,” Layne said.
That goes for private, residential projects too.
He says to make sure to get that permit before laying drainage pipes, or running gas lines from your property to the road if that means crossing the state's right of way.
Layne says if you have any doubts before starting a new development project, you can contact your local highway department and they should have maps detailing exactly where the commonwealth's right of way is located