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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Right-of-Way Local Public Agency Program - Best Management Practices


Knowing the importance that our local street roadways, state highways and the interstate highway system provides its citizens, it is understood that the design, construction and maintenance of our transportation system is of utmost importance. Ensuring that STDs and local agencies maximize the use of Federal funding available through TEA-21 is of prime importance to all stakeholders. Federal and state policies and procedures were developed to provide the stakeholders with knowledge so that all transportation projects are conducted using a customer-focused and project-driven approach.

Sharing knowledge on right-of-way procedures with local agencies assures that transportation projects (local, state or Federal-aided) are being completed in the most cost-effective manner. As illustrated in this report, sharing of ROW process knowledge between WSDOT and its local agencies provides all involved with an understanding of each organizations' prime directives. WSDOT and its local agencies have shared visions and goals, and therefore established relationships based on mutual understanding, respect, and trust while maximizing federal-aid. The upfront investment made by STDs and local agencies resulted in long-term relationships that save a tremendous amount of time and money, while improving the quality and price of the transportation system. This commitment to communication and training local agencies has resulted in transportation projects that are completed correctly the first time by everyone involved in the process. The STD and local agencies operate at optimal efficiencies and have excellent communication and coordination among all involved in the project. The case studies highlighted just three of the many federal-aided local agency transportation projects. In these three examples, the local agencies contracted with WSDOT for project assistance. The projects were completed on time, in budget and in compliance with State and Federal guidelines.

Instituting intergovernmental cooperation across agency boundaries, cultural boundaries and jurisdiction levels is, at best, a challenge. However, a fluid, cooperative planning relationship among these parties, if designed correctly and supported, will allow STD ROW departments to:

A WSDOT official nicely sums up these benefits:

"The right-of-way staff is a great example of teamwork in action, as they are always willing to help with problems, share information and ideas, and fill in for each other when necessary. ROW employees will spend the time it takes to do the jobs correctly and as efficiently as possible, knowing employees are walking a narrow line, representing the best interests of the property owner and the best interests of taxpayers."

The study was conducted by Quality Environmental Professionals, Incorporated (QEPI), of Indianapolis, Indiana, under contract with the Federal Highway Administration Office of Real Estate Services. Principal Investigator for QEPI was Deborah E. Peters.

The cooperation of the Washington State Department of Transportation and their local public agencies is gratefully acknowledged.

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

Updated: 9/5/2014
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