Chapter 5511: STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM

5511.01 State highway system established.

All state highways established by law shall continue to be known as state highways, and the state highway system established by law shall continue to be known as the state highway system.

Before establishing any additional highways as part of the state highway system, or making any significant changes in existing highways comprising the system, the director of transportation shall notify the general community of the project and offer an opportunity for appropriate public involvement in the project process.

The opportunity for public involvement shall satisfy the requirements of the "National Environmental Policy Act of 1969," 83 Stat. 852, 42 U.S.C.A. 4321 et seq., as amended, and may consist of activities including public meetings or hearings, small group meetings with local officials, individual meetings, news releases, public notices, workshops, newsletters, electronic communications, radio announcements, mail notification, and other activities considered appropriate for the exchange of information. The director or the director's designee shall provide the public involvement activities in each of the counties in which the highway proposed to be established is to be located or in which it is proposed to make those changes.

Any changes made in existing highways by the director or any additional highways established by the director following the public involvement activities shall be certified to the following authorities interested in them: the legislative authority of municipalities, the board of county commissioners, the board of township trustees, the municipal, county, and regional planning commissions, and the municipal, township, or county officer authorized to issue land use or building permits. Before any zoning change or subdivision plat is approved and before any permit for land use or the erection, alteration, or moving of a building is granted affecting any land within three hundred feet of the center line of a proposed new highway or highway for which changes are proposed, as described in the certification by the director, or within a radius of five hundred feet from the point of intersection of that center line with any public road or highway, the authority authorized to approve the zoning change or subdivision plat or the authority authorized to grant the permit for land use or the erection, alteration, or moving of the building shall give notice, by certified mail, to the director, and shall not approve a zoning change or subdivision plat or grant a permit for land use or the erection, alteration, or moving of a building for one hundred twenty days from date notice is received by the director. During the one hundred twenty-day period and any extension of it as may be agreed to between the director and any property owner, notice of which has been given to the authority to which the application has been made, the director shall proceed to acquire any land needed by purchase or gift, or by initiating proceedings to appropriate, or make a finding that acquisition at such time is not in the public interest. Upon purchase, initiation of appropriation proceedings, or a finding that acquisition is not in the public interest, the director shall notify the authority from which notice was received of that action. Upon being notified that the director has purchased or initiated proceedings to appropriate the land that authority shall refuse to rezone land or to approve any subdivision plat that includes the land which the director has purchased or has initiated proceedings to appropriate, and that authority shall refuse to grant a permit for land use or the erection, alteration, or moving of a building on the land which the director has purchased or initiated proceedings to appropriate. Upon notification that the director has found acquisition at that time not to be in the public interest, or upon the expiration of the one hundred twenty-day period or any extension of it, if no notice has been received from the director, that authority shall proceed in accordance with law.

A report of the change or addition shall be filed in the office of the director, and the report of the director making the change or establishing the highway shall be placed on file in the office of the department of transportation.

In no event shall the total mileage of the state highway system be increased under this section to exceed two hundred miles in one year.

The director, upon petition of the boards of the counties traversed by a highway or of citizens of those counties, may officially assign to a highway of the state highway system a distinctive name commemorative of a historical event or personage, or officially assign to a highway of the state highway system a commonly accepted and appropriate name by which the highway is known.

The director may, upon giving appropriate notice and offering the opportunity for public involvement and comment, abandon a highway on the state highway system or part of such a highway which the director determines is of minor importance or which traverses territory adequately served by another state highway, and the abandoned highway shall revert to a county or township road or municipal street. A report covering that action shall be filed in the office of the director, and the director shall certify the action to the board of the county in which the highway or portion of the highway so abandoned is situated.

The director shall make a map showing, by appropriate numbering or other designation, all the state highways. The map shall be kept on file in the director's office, and the director shall cause the map to be corrected and revised to show all changes and additions to the date of the correction. A copy of the map, certified by the director as a correct copy of the map on file in the director's office, shall be admissible as evidence in any court to prove the existence and location of the several highways and roads of the state highway system.

The state highway routes into or through municipal corporations, as designated or indicated by state highway route markers erected on the routes, are state highways and a part of the state highway system. The director may erect state highway route markers and other signs directing traffic as the director thinks proper upon those portions of the state highway system lying within municipal corporations, and the consent of the municipal corporations to that erection and marking shall not be necessary. However, the director may erect traffic signs in villages in accordance with section 5521.01 of the Revised Code. No change in the route of any highway through a municipal corporation shall be made except after providing public involvement activities.

Except as provided in sections 5501.49 and 5517.04 of the Revised Code, no duty of constructing, reconstructing, maintaining, and repairing such state highways within municipal corporations shall attach to or rest upon the director. The director may enter upon such state highways within any municipal corporation and construct, reconstruct, widen, improve, maintain, and repair them, provided the municipal corporation first consents by resolution of its legislative authority, except that the director need not obtain the consent of the municipal corporation if the existing highway being changed or the location of an additional highway being established was not within the corporate limits of the municipal corporation at the time the establishment or change is approved by the director, or if the director is acting pursuant to section 5501.49 of the Revised Code.

The director shall place in the files of the department a record of the routes of all such state highways within municipal corporations, and shall cause them to be corrected and revised to show all changes and additions to the date of the correction. A copy of the record or any pertinent part of it, certified by the director to be a true and correct copy, shall be admissible in evidence in any court of the state for the purpose of proving the existence and location of any state highway within a municipal corporation.

When the director proposes to change an existing state highway and there exists upon the highway a separated railroad crossing, the director shall mail to the interested railroad company a copy of the notice, which shall be mailed by first-class mail, postage prepaid, and certified with return receipt requested, at least two weeks before the time fixed for any public involvement activity. When the director proposes to change an existing state highway within a municipal corporation, the director shall mail to the mayor or other chief executive officer of the municipal corporation a copy of the notice, which shall be mailed by first-class mail, postage prepaid, and certified with return receipt requested, at least two weeks before the time fixed for any public involvement activity.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to require providing public involvement activities before the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, improvement, or widening of an existing highway where no relocation is involved.

With the exception of the authority conferred upon the director by this section to erect state highway route markers and signs directing traffic and by section 5501.49 of the Revised Code, Chapters 5501., 5503., 5511., 5513., 5515., 5516., 5517., 5519., 5521., 5523., 5525., 5527., 5528., 5529., 5531., 5533., and 5535. of the Revised Code shall not in any way modify, limit, or restrict the authority conferred by section 723.01 of the Revised Code upon municipal corporations to regulate the use of streets and to have the care, supervision, and control of the public highways, streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, public grounds, bridges, aqueducts, and viaducts within the municipal corporations, or the liability imposed upon municipal corporations by division (B)(3) of section 2744.02 of the Revised Code for negligent failure to keep public roads in repair and other negligent failure to remove obstructions from public roads.

Effective Date: 04-09-2003

5511.02 Limited access highways and freeways.

The director of transportation may lay out, establish, acquire, open, construct, improve, maintain, regulate, vacate, or abandon "limited access highways" or "freeways" in the same manner in which the director may lay out, establish, acquire, open, construct, improve, maintain, regulate, vacate, or abandon highways. The director, board or municipal authority shall have all additional authority relative to such "limited access highways" or "freeways" as he possesses relative to highways, including the authority to acquire by gift, purchase, condemnation, or otherwise land required for right of way.

Where an existing highway, in whole or part, has been designated as, or included within, a "limited access highway" or "freeway," existing easements of access may be extinguished by purchase, gift, agreement, or by condemnation.

As an adjunct of any "limited access highway" or "freeway" the director, board, or municipal authority may lay out and construct highways and drives, to be designated as service highways, to provide access from areas adjacent to a limited access highway or freeway.

A "limited access highway" or "freeway" is a highway especially designed for through traffic and over which abutting property owners have no easement or right of access by reason of the fact that their property abuts upon such highway, and access to which may be allowed only at highway intersections designated by the director.

Limitations imposed on the mileage of state highways shall not apply to highways established under this section.

Effective Date: 09-28-1973

5511.03 Highway facilities for state institutions.

The director of transportation shall examine the existing highway facilities serving the several hospitals, educational institutions, and correctional and other similar institutions belonging to the state, and located outside municipal corporations. Where the director finds that any such state institution is not located on a state highway or connected with a highway by a suitable road, affording in its present condition adequate transportation facilities to those having occasion to visit such institution, the director may establish a state highway leading to such institution from a convenient point on an existing highway. Where the director finds that any such institution is not served by adequate highway facilities connecting it with the railroad delivery point from which it principally obtains fuel, provisions, and supplies, the director may establish a highway connecting such institution and railroad delivery point. Limitations imposed on the mileage of state highways shall not apply to highways established under this section.

The director may construct at state expense all highways established under authority of this section and pay the entire cost thereof from the state highway operating fund. Such highways shall be maintained by the department of transportation and the cost shall be paid from the highway operating fund of the department.

The directors of transportation, mental health and addiction services, developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation and correction may cooperate in the establishment, construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of roads within the limits of state institutions. The cost shall be paid from funds appropriated for highway purposes and from the funds appropriated to the department of mental health and addiction services, department of developmental disabilities, or the department of rehabilitation and correction for capital improvements or maintenance in such proportion as may be agreed upon by the directors of transportation, mental health and addiction services, developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation and correction.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 128th General Assemblych.166, SB 79, §1, eff. 10/6/2009.

Effective Date: 10-06-1994

5511.04 Roads for conservancy districts.

The director of transportation may relocate and for that purpose construct or reconstruct the relocated portions of all roads, highways, and streets, within, leading through, or adjacent to any lands owned by a conservancy district organized under Chapter 6101. of the Revised Code or lands on which any conservancy district has a flood easement, construction easement, or right-of-way.

The director may cooperate in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance of roads leading from a state highway to any public park, forest preserve, or recreational area, or within the boundary of any public park, forest preserve, or recreational area, under the control and custody of a conservancy district.

The director shall confer with the board of directors of a conservancy district upon the construction, reconstruction, location, or relocation of any roads or highways that must be in conformity with the general engineering plans of the district.

With respect to any such road improvement projects, the director may, upon the terms mutually agreed between the director and the board of the district, in view of the benefits to be derived, enter into any contracts with the district as may be necessary or convenient to carry out the general plans of the district.

The costs of the improvements shall be paid in the same manner as for a state highway improvement, provided the expenditures in any one year shall not exceed two hundred thousand dollars.

This section does not derogate or limit the powers of the director to add additional mileage to the state highway system.

This section does not derogate or limit the power and authority conferred upon a district and its board by Chapter 6101. of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 09-21-2000

5511.05 Construction and maintenance of access roads.

The director of transportation may establish, construct, reconstruct, improve, repair, and maintain roads leading from a state highway to any state park, including all such parks and properties under the control and custody of the department of natural resources and the Ohio historical society, or roads leading from a state highway to any state property used for military purposes, or any road which leads along the side of or through school lands which are owned by the state. The director shall confer with the authority in control of any such park or property before deciding upon the location and character of any such improvement. The director may add such roads to the state highway system. Such additional mileage is in addition to and not subject to section 5511.01 of the Revised Code.

The director may establish, construct, reconstruct, improve, repair, and maintain roads within the boundary of any state park, including all such parks and properties under the control and custody of the department of natural resources and the Ohio historical society or used for military purposes, provided the officer or board which has control of or supervision over such property first requests in writing the establishment, construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance of such road. Thereafter the director may cause to be prepared the necessary engineering plans and specifications for construction and reconstruction, which plans and specifications shall be subject to the approval of the officer or board which has control of or supervision over such property. Such roads shall be maintained in a manner agreed upon between the director and such officer or board.

The director may install and maintain suitable, uniform markers designating intersections with and accesses to state recreational trails, where trails established pursuant to Chapter 1519 of the Revised Code intersect with a state highway. He may cooperate with the director of natural resources in providing appropriate means for such trails to cross highways.

The costs of such establishment, construction, installation, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance shall be paid from highway operating funds.

Effective Date: 11-23-1977

5511.06 Park drives or park roads.

The director of transportation may cooperate in the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance of park drives or park roads within the boundaries of parks created under sections 511.18 to 511.34 and 1545.01 to 1545.22 of the Revised Code, together with roads leading from state highways to and into any such park.

The director, after agreement with the board of park commissioners of any such park district, may proceed with the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance of any such drives or roads within such park, or roads leading from state highways to such park areas. Such construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance shall be in conformity with the general engineering plans of the park district.

The director may, with respect to any such park drive or road improvement, under such terms as are mutually agreed upon between him and any such board, because of benefits to be derived thereby, enter into a contract with any such park district that may be necessary or convenient to carry out the general plans of the park district, insofar as they relate to park roadway or drive improvement or repair.

The cost of such construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, and maintenance shall be paid in the same manner as provided for state highway improvement, provided the expenditures in any one year, for the purposes set forth in this section, shall not exceed one and one-half million dollars.

This section does not derogate or limit the powers of the director to add additional mileage to the state highway system, and limitations imposed on the mileage of state highways shall not apply to work done under this section.

This section does not derogate or limit the power and authority conferred upon park districts and boards of commissioners created by sections 511.18 to 511.34 and 1545.01 to 1545.22 of the Revised Code, or of any amendatory or supplementary acts thereto.

Effective Date: 07-01-1989

5511.07 Procedure for vacating highway.

In pursuance of section 5501.31 of the Revised Code, the director of transportation, in vacating any highway or portion thereof on the state highway system that the director finds is no longer necessary for the purposes of a public highway, shall issue such a finding, which shall contain a description of the highway or part thereof to be vacated. Notice of such finding shall be published once a week, for two consecutive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the highway, or part thereof, to be vacated lies, and a copy of the notice shall be served as in civil cases, or by registered first class mail, return receipt requested, upon each owner of property abutting on the portion of the highway to be vacated, and upon the director of natural resources. Any owner whose place of residence is unknown, or who is a nonresident of the state, shall be specifically named in the notice of publication and shall be directed in the finding to take due notice of the contents thereof. The director shall make any vacation of a highway or portion of a highway to an abutting landowner or current underlying fee owner of record at no cost.

The notice shall fix a date, not less than twenty days after the date of the final publication of the notice, and shall contain a determination that on or before that date claims for compensation and damage, or either, by reason of the vacation proceedings, must be filed in writing, in duplicate, with the district deputy director of transportation in whose district lies any portion of the highway to be vacated. Failure to file claims in that manner is a waiver of any claim for damage by reason of the vacation.

After considering any claims filed, the director shall make awards as the director considers just and equitable, and if, within ten days, the amount so awarded has not been accepted and waivers therefor signed, that amount shall be deposited in the probate court or court of common pleas of the county in which the vacation lies, wholly or in part, and the procedure to adjudicate such claims shall be that provided under section 5519.01 of the Revised Code.

No final determination shall be made by the director in vacating such highway or portion thereof until all awards are accepted, or deposit therefor made, in the probate court or court of common pleas.

No public utility shall be required to move or relocate any of its facilities that may be located in or on any highway or portion thereof being vacated. Any deed, transfer, or other instrument or conveyance made by reason of the vacation shall indicate the right of any public utility to continue its use or occupation of the highway or portion of the highway being vacated.

Effective Date: 04-05-2001

5511.08 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 04-01-1990

5511.09 Procedure for naming of highway.

Within a county, any highway or bridge that is part of the state highway system may be officially assigned a distinctive name, commemorative of an historical event or personage or a commonly accepted and appropriate name, by which the highway or bridge is known. Upon agreement of the governing bodies of the county and each township and municipal corporation within the county through which the highway extends or in which the bridge is located, a request for approval of the highway or bridge name may be submitted to the director of transportation. The agreement shall be indicated by a resolution from each governing body in support of the proposed highway or bridge name. The resolution may not be withdrawn, amended, or repealed for thirty days following receipt of the resolution by the requesting authority, or during the time the request is pending before the director.

Within thirty days after receipt of such a request, the director shall inform the requesting authority of the director's decision. If the director approves the request, the requesting authority , at its own expense, may erect markers indicating the name of the highway or bridge within the county, provided that any marker so erected shall conform to the law of this state and to federal law and shall be in accordance with the directives for the signing of named memorial highways included in the manual adopted by the department of transportation under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code.

Only one name per county shall be assigned to a highway or a bridge under this section, and the name shall apply to the entire extension of the highway or the entire portion of the bridge within the county. A name assigned to a state highway or part thereof or a bridge under this section may be altered or abolished, pursuant to approval of the director, in the same manner as provided for assignment of the original name.

This section shall not in any way modify, limit, or restrict the authority of a municipal corporation to designate within the municipal corporation, the name of a highway or a bridge that is part of the state highway system. If a municipal corporation has acted pursuant to its authority and designated the name of a highway or bridge within the municipal corporation, no other name may be assigned to that highway or bridge under this section.

Effective Date: 05-31-1990; 2008 SB44 08-22-2008