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Flowchart 5: Right-of-Way Process

Full Flowchart

You can also dig more deeply into the separate pieces of the flowchart below.


If you determine that ROW acquisition or relocation will be required for your project, you should promptly notify the CDOT project manager. The CDOT project manager has overall responsibility for coordination of ROW acquisition and relocation. In addition, each CDOT region has a ROW manager who is responsible for acquisition/relocation oversight on locally-administered projects and for coordination with your agency on projects.

As part of the overall responsibility assigned to CDOT by FHWA, CDOT region ROW staff are required to monitor local agency right of way acquisition functions on all local projects for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. As part of its oversight responsibilities, CDOT must provide assurance to the FHWA that it can fully comply with the Uniform Act. You must certify that you have followed the Uniform Act when acquiring real property. Pursuant to Title 23 CFR 710.311 Construction Advertising, no project can be advertised for construction until the local agency has provided written certification that all right of way has been cleared and CDOT has accepted that certification.

If ROW is not required for the project, you must still certify that all Uniform Act requirements (for federal aid projects) and other state/federal requirements have been met. After receipt of the certification letter from your agency, the CDOT region ROW staff issue the ROW clearance letter. See ROW Manual Chapter 8, Exhibits D and E for the two example right-of-way certification letters. Also see Section 8.14 of the CDOT ROW Manual for additional information regarding LPA ROW Certification.

For more information on relocation, see the FHWA video Relocation Assistance.

The Uniform Act applies to and must be followed on all local agency projects when federal dollars are used in any phase of the project. The Uniform Act applies even when federal dollars are not used specifically for property acquisition or relocation activities, but are used elsewhere in the project, such as in planning, environmental, design or construction phases.

Where federal funding is used on any phase of a local agency project, FHWA places overall responsibility with CDOT for the acquisition of right of way and relocation of individuals and businesses. CDOT retains the same responsibility for acquisition of right of way and relocation of individuals and businesses for non-federally funded local agency projects.

The Uniform Act also applies to any local agency project when right of way is acquired for projects that improve or modify any federal or state transportation facility, even though no federal dollars are used in any phase (100 percent local-funded projects).

CRS 24-56-(101 through 121) apply to programs or projects funded with state highway funds. The legislative purpose as set forth in CRS 24-56-101 is to establish a uniform policy for the fair and equitable treatment of persons displaced by the acquisition of real property by state agencies and political subdivisions of the state for federally-assisted programs and projects, and to comply with the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisitions Policies Act of 1970, as amended, to promote the efficient operation of the highway right of way acquisition program, and to define the authority and responsibility of departments of transportation and of municipalities and counties for all acquisitions and relocation for federally-assisted highway programs and projects within their jurisdictions.

CRS 24-56-108(4) states that CDOT may use the provisions of state statute for programs or projects on the state highway system funded by state highway funds. This statute indicates a legislative preference for CDOT to follow the Uniform Act when state highway funds are used. This statute, as well as the legislative purpose stated in CRS 24-56-101, is interpreted by CDOT as a strong legislative suggestion for CDOT to follow the Uniform Act in all acquisition/relocation activities for all of its projects, regardless of the source of funding, for program consistency and to ensure that all persons and entities affected by such programs are treated fairly and equitably. Accordingly, Title 24, Article 56 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, which specifically incorporates the Uniform Act by reference, is applicable to all local agency programs and projects that improve or modify a portion of a federal or state highway regardless of the source of funding.

All right of way needed in connection with federally-funded local agency projects must be acquired in compliance with Public Law 91-646, the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, commonly called the Uniform Act. The rules are reprinted each year in Title 49 CFR Part 24.

You must comply with all requirements of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on federal aid projects. You must ensure all services and/or benefits derived from any right of way activity will be administered without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, or disability. If your activities do not comply with the Title VI, loss of federal funding could occur.

If your project is a locally-administered project that requires ROW acquisition or relocation but is located outside CDOT ROW and does not affect a federal or state transportation facility, you should follow your agency’s ROW acquisition and relocation process or applicable Colorado state statutes.

Depending on the source of funds in the ROW phase of your project, the process to acquire ROW can vary. The range of funds sources includes federal, state, local, private donations/ dedications, or a combination of those sources. Please follow the appropriate flowchart for more information.

If there is a combination of funds on your project, such as federal and local, or federal, state and local, you should follow the most stringent requirements.

The Uniform Act applies and must be followed on all local agency projects when federal dollars are used in the ROW phase of the project. FHWA must authorize the project before the ROW phase can be initiated. Additionally, the local agency must enter into an intergovernmental agreement with CDOT and have received notice to proceed for work on the ROW phase of the project to be reimbursable.

See Flowchart 5A for further information.

The Uniform Act applies and must be followed on all local agency projects when state dollars are used in the ROW phase of the project. Additionally, the local agency must enter into an intergovernmental agreement with CDOT and have received notice to proceed for activity on the ROW phase of the project to be reimbursable.

See Flowchart 5A for further information.

A local agency will often use its own funds to acquire ROW or relocation during the ROW phase of a federal aid project. If no federal or state money is used in the project, and if the project does not affect a state or federal transportation facility, there is no oversight by CDOT ROW.

See Flowchart 5B for further information.

A local agency may acquire ROW by dedication or by donation. Dedication refers to right of way acquired through normal zoning, subdivision or development procedures requiring the donation or dedication of land for public use. A donation is the voluntary transfer of privately owned real property for the benefit of a public transportation project without compensation or with compensation at less than fair market value. ROW plans and legal descriptions are required for all donations.

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