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What are Some Considerations When Maintaining a Private Roadway?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Image By: Guillaume Baviere
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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According to government definition, a private roadway is any that splits from a public roadway and leads to a private property, such as a driveway, a farm, or a land estate. A private roadway does not belong to the city, so there is no official entity in charge of maintenance, naming, and protection.

Also according to the law, any type of road, be it a main street or a private roadway, needs a name. There are actually a set of guidelines put forward by the Department of Highway Safety on how a private roadway should be named. The owner of a private roadway has the final say in the name, as long as he follows the standards: no family names, no more than 40 characters in the name, no hyphens or dashes, and no multiple names, even if the road has intersections or curves. The naming of a private roadway requires specific steps if more than two people, with no relation to each other, live on it.

Once named, a private roadway should have a sign posted at the beginning or entrance showing such name. The cost of officially installing the sign is paid by the owner, not the county government. Traffic signs are allowed but not obligatory in private roadways, so the final decision is up to the owner.

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The standards of what can or should be done with a private roadway vary according to state, city, and even county. In some places, a private road must meet city standards, such as minimum width, angle of turning, side ditches, etc. Some counties require private roads to be covered with gravel or pavement, and have guidelines on how thick the base should be. Depending on the area, it may also be necessary to keep the entrance to a private roadway free of grass or debris, even if the rest of the road is bursting with it. This is presumably done to avoid accidents as drivers approach the entrance while still standing on public streets.

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