Common Myths

In most cases the public right-of-way width is greater than the paved or gravel surface of the roadway. Generally, the width of the public right-of-way may be defined in various documents and plats filed of record in the Office of County Recorder/Registrar of Titles. 

In urban areas, public right-of-way may be shown on sub-division plats or right-of-way plats.  In both urban and undeveloped areas, the right-of-way may be conveyed or granted by documents filed of record in the public land records in the Office of County Recorder/Registrar of Titles.
A highway stretches in Scott County on a gray day
The public right-of-way may include:
  • Roadway
  • Shoulders
  • In-slopes
  • Back-slopes
  • Ditches]
  • Boulevards
  • Drainage facilities
  • Traffic signals
  • Traffic signs
  • Transit facilities
  • Pedestrian facilities
  • Sidewalks
  • Trails
  • Public and quasi-public utilities
  • Clear zones
In situations where no documentation exists, the County may claim prescriptive use by statute. The transportation related occupation and uses establish prescriptive use.  Prescriptive use may be undefined width and areas of right-of-way, which is determined by actual width of use by the roadway, shoulders, boulevards, in-slopes, back-slopes, ditches, structures, drainage facilities, traffic signs, traffic signals, transit facilities, pedestrian facilities, utilities, clear zones, recovery areas, etc.  Generally, the width of the area maintained or used by the County, including public or quasi-public utilities by permit from the Highway Department, may be considered in the right-of-way.