Chapter 5541: COUNTY HIGHWAY SYSTEM

5541.01 Creation of county system of highways.

There shall be created in each county within the state a system of county highways, which system shall be selected and determined in the following manner:

The board of township trustees shall, upon request and under the direction of the board of county commissioners of the county within which such township is located and upon such forms as are prescribed by the board of county commissioners, make a report to the board of county commissioners setting forth the relative value of each road in the township in consecutive order as a used highway, the kind of traffic over such road, its length and present condition, together with such other information as may be desired and requested by the board of county commissioners. The board of county commissioners may request the aid and assistance of the county engineer in preparing blank forms and reports for the use of the board of township trustees together with any maps which in its judgment may be needed by the board of township trustees in making its report.

Cite as R.C. § 5541.01

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5541.02 Board of county commissioners to designate county highway system - approval by director of transportation.

The board of county commissioners shall determine, from the statistics and information furnished by the several boards of township trustees within the county, the relative importance and value for traffic of the various public highways of the entire county. The board of county commissioners shall begin work as soon as the necessary information is furnished by the several boards of township trustees within the county and, after a careful review and consideration of the information furnished, shall select and designate a connected system of county highways, of the mileage it deems proper and expedient, connecting with the intercounty and state highways of the county all of the villages and centers of rural population within the county. The system of highways, when selected and designated by the board of county commissioners, shall be known as the system of county highways of the county, and all of the roads composing the system shall be known and designated as county roads. The board of county commissioners may call to its assistance the county engineer and may require the county engineer to report as to the relative importance of the highways of any township, with respect to which the board of township trustees fails to report within a reasonable time. Upon the completion of its investigation and the designation of a system of county highways, the board of county commissioners shall require the engineer to make a map of it. A copy of this map, with the mileage of the selected roads indicated on it, together with a brief statement by the board of county commissioners of its reasons for the selection made, shall be transmitted to the director of transportation.

If the director finds that the system has been designated in substantial compliance with this section and section 5541.01 of the Revised Code, and that all portions of the system of county highways connect with either a state or intercounty highway, or another county road, the director shall, within sixty days, approve the system and certify the approval to the board of county commissioners, which shall cause a copy of the map, approved by it, to be made a part of its records and shall cause a copy of it to be filed in the office of the county engineer and of the fiscal officer of each township within the county. The system of roads designated upon the map shall then become the system of county roads of the county. Each road constituting a part of the system shall be given a number by the board of county commissioners, which may also divide the roads into convenient sections and assign appropriate designations to each section. No state or intercounty highway or part of it shall be included in the system of county highways. The board of county commissioners may make changes in or additions to the county system as in the manner provided by this section. All expenses incurred in carrying out this section shall be paid from the general county road fund.

Cite as R.C. § 5541.02

Effective Date: 09-28-1973; 12-20-2005

5541.03 Application by township trustees for road improvement.

The board of township trustees may make application in writing to the board of county commissioners, for the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of any section of highway in the county system. If the board of county commissioners approves such application, it shall direct the county engineer to make the necessary plans for the construction, reconstruction, or improvement of such section of highway, together with an estimate of the cost thereof. The engineer shall promptly prepare such plans and estimates and file them with the board of county commissioners.

Cite as R.C. § 5541.03

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

5541.04 Changing name of road.

The board of county commissioners of any county, on its own motion or on petition by a person owning a lot in the unincorporated area of said county praying that the name of a county or township road in the immediate vicinity of such lot be changed, upon hearing, and upon being satisfied that there is good cause for such a change of name, that it will not be detrimental to the general interest, and that it should be made, may, by resolution declare the change of the name of such road. The board may include in one resolution the change of name of more than one road.

A copy of such resolution shall be certified to the county engineer, the county recorder, and the county auditor, who shall all change their records accordingly, but still retain in some manner the old name of the road.

Cite as R.C. § 5541.04

Effective Date: 09-25-1961

5541.05 County commissioners may place graveled or unimproved road in nonmaintained status.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section, a board of county commissioners by resolution may place a graveled or unimproved county road under its jurisdiction that is not passable year-round or any portion of such a road on nonmaintained status. Prior to adopting a resolution that places a road on nonmaintained status, the board, at special or regular meetings, shall hold at least two public hearings to allow for public comment on the proposed resolution. The board shall publicize the times and places of the hearings by causing a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the road is located at least ten days prior to the date of the first meeting. If the county maintains a web site on the internet, the same notice also shall be posted on the web site at least ten days prior to the date of the first meeting. Upon adoption of such a resolution, the board is not required to cause the road to be dragged at any time, or to cut, destroy, or remove any brush, weeds, briers, bushes, or thistles upon or along the road, or to remove snow from the road, or to maintain or repair the road in any manner. The board, in its discretion, may cause any of these actions to be performed on or to a road that it has placed on nonmaintained status.

(B) Prior to adopting a resolution under division (A) of this section, the board shall request the county engineer to issue an advisory opinion regarding the consequences of placing the road on nonmaintained status, including any impact such action would have on adjoining property owners. A board may adopt a resolution under division (A) of this section only after the county engineer issues the advisory opinion and the county engineer, in the advisory opinion, finds that placing the road on nonmaintained status will not unduly adversely affect the flow of motor vehicle traffic on that road or on any adjacent road.

(C)

(1) A board may terminate the nonmaintained status of a county road by adopting a resolution to that effect. If the owner of land adjoining a road that has been placed on nonmaintained status requests the board to terminate the nonmaintained status of the road, the board, in its resolution that terminates that nonmaintained status, may require the owner to pay the costs of upgrading the road to locally adopted county standards.

(2) If the owner of land adjoining a road that has been placed on nonmaintained status upgrades the road to the standards most recently certified by the county engineer for the road, the board shall terminate the nonmaintained status of the road and then shall maintain and repair the road according to such standards. However, division (C)(2) of this section does not apply to a road or portion of a road that, prior to being placed on nonmaintained status, was not certified by the board of county commissioners to the director of transportation in accordance with division (D) of section 4501.04 of the Revised Code as mileage in the county used by and maintained for the public.

(3) The owner of land adjoining a road that was placed on nonmaintained status prior to April 7, 2009, or the owner of land whose only access to such a road is by easement may petition the board for review of the nonmaintained status of the road if the road provides the exclusive means for obtaining access to the land. Upon receipt of a petition, the board shall review the status of the road and shall terminate the nonmaintained status if the board finds that the road provides such exclusive means for obtaining access to the land. After completing the review, the board shall adopt a resolution either retaining or terminating the nonmaintained status of the road. If the board terminates the nonmaintained status of a road under division (C)(3) of this section, the board shall not require the owner to pay the costs of upgrading, maintaining, or repairing the road. However, division (C)(3) of this section does not apply to a road or portion of a road that, prior to being placed on nonmaintained status, was not certified by the board of county commissioners to the director in accordance with division (D) of section 4501.04 of the Revised Code as mileage in the county used by and maintained for the public.

(D) A graveled or unimproved road may not be placed on nonmaintained status if the road is the exclusive means for obtaining access to land that adjoins that road and the road is passable year-round.

(E) For purposes of this section, a road is passable year-round if a four-wheeled, two-wheel drive passenger motor vehicle can be driven on the road year-round, apart from seasonal conditions caused by weather-related events.

Cite as R.C. § 5541.05

Amended by 128th General Assemblych.28, HB 2, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2009.

Effective Date: 06-10-2004