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