Right of way, or property that will be owned by INDOT as part of the new roadway, is required for any project. Once INDOT and the design team determine the property needs (right of way), affected landowners will be contacted by an INDOT representative approximately two years before construction begins in their particular area. The land acquisition process for each property is based on the complexities of the purchase, and can take anywhere from 9-24 months to complete. The land acquisition process started in 2009 and will continue through early spring 2014.
Because INDOT uses public money to acquire property, it can purchase only land needed for the project. This often results in a long time period from a project’s inception to the time that property is identified and property owners are notified. A property owner’s first contact about purchasing land will be by an Indiana Certified Real Estate Appraiser who will make an appointment to view and inspect the property to begin the acquisition process. The value of the parcels to be acquired is based on fair market value.
The acquisition method is regulated by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in accordance with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (Uniform Act) in compliance with current federal and state regulations. Learn more about FHWA’s acquisition process.
If a portion of a property is required, an offer will be extended to purchase only the area necessary for construction. Typically, if the residual is landlocked, INDOT will extend an offer to acquire the entire parcel; however, during the negotiations to acquire the parcel, the owner must be given the opportunity to retain the residual, or excess, land that is not necessary to construct the project at the value established for the excess land in the appraisal. Learn more about FHWA’s Federal Relocation Assistance Program.
Early acquisition opportunities and the order in which property is purchased are determined based on project design, availability of funding and construction sequencing. Learn more about land acquisition.
Due to federal funding requirements, 4(f)-designated properties such as parks and schools must be avoided. Thus, the roadway design in some areas will mandate which businesses and residences will be acquired to accommodate the roadway and avoid the 4(f) properties.
Definition of 4(f) properties:
The Department of Transportation Act (DOT Act) of 1966 included a special provision – Section 4(f) – which stipulated that the FHWA and other DOT agencies cannot approve the acquisition of land for transportation projects from publicly owned parks, recreational areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, or public and private historical sites unless:
- There is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of land.
- The action includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the property resulting from such use.