What is Right of Way?

Landowners have the right to enjoy the use of their property, but sometimes for the benefit of a community a portion of those rights may be needed. Rights of Way allow others certain uses or access to private property, while allowing an owner the continued enjoyment of their property.

Specifically, a Right of Way is a common type of easement that allows others to cross or access a piece of property. Almost all homes, for instance, have these types of easements. Rights of Way are usually intended for limited uses such as to repair telephone or electric lines. Others may allow a utility company the right to erect power lines or bury electric lines, fiber and/or gas pipelines. In these situations, the easements are included in a deed description and remain in place even if the land is sold. Usually there are restrictions associated with easements that may limit a landowners’ use of a property by limiting the structures that are built, which might hinder access such as swimming pools, gardens and/or fences.

History of Right of Way in the US

In the U.S., Rights of Way were first granted to railroads to help settle the western portions of the country between 1862 and 1871. By using public land, several transcontinental railroads were authorized in a ten-year period, including the Union Pacific/Central Pacific in 1862 and 1864, the Northern Pacific in 1864, the Atlantic and Pacific in 1866, and the Texas Pacific in 1871.

Right-of-Way Services Offered Today

Today, metropolitan areas implement Right of Way improvement projects in an effort to upgrade infrastructure and enhance the environment. Right of Way acquisition for utilities, highway and transportation projects can be very expensive and time-consuming. The utility companies, state and federal government spend billions every year on Right of Way projects. Currently, CW Solutions is providing title research and Right-of-Way acquisition services on several of PSE&G’s large-scale projects.

Role of Right-of-Way Professionals

Right of Way professionals play an important role in infrastructure projects. Their work involves researching ownership, identifying the landowners, and securing access to job sites, among others. A qualified Right of Way professional can bring innovative cost-saving measures to the infrastructure projects they oversee.

At CW Solutions, we can handle a full range of Right of Way, property acquisition and landman services for the public and private sectors.


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