What Should I Expect?
Community infrastructure projects such as roads, sewers, water lines, storm drainage, energy, and communications can be disruptive during the planning and construction period. Once complete, the community benefits from the infrastructure needed to support a high quality of life and growth for the future.
FIELD INVESTIGATION PHASE
You may see surveyors, large equipment, and field personnel collecting information, locating utilities, and taking soil borings to design of the infrastructure project. Roads may be temporarily closed, and flags or stakes may be placed in the area.
You can expect heavy equipment and trucks, travel delays, and nuisance dust and noise during construction and installation. Generally, hours of operation for construction are limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. M-F or with special approval after hours and weekends. Roads may be temporarily closed, and utility services shut off temporarily for short periods of time. Delays and changes in travel routes can be expected throughout construction. There may be reduced access to property, sidewalks, and driveways.
We use door hangers, mail letters, post information on the City’s website, and use Notify JoCo. Any access or service interruption to property along the construction route is given in advance.
We’ll do our best to notify everyone impacted by infrastructure project work, especially if there are closures or disruption in service.
Property Access via Easement
Generally, existing utilities are located within the road right-of-way or within an easement across privately held land.
An easement is the right to cross or use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.
- You still own that property but there is a legal agreement between you as the property owner, and the holder of the easement (usually a public utility or agency). You may not remember giving a utility or infrastructure agency the right to access your property where the easement is located, but it is documented on your property record at the county.
- An easement allows the agency to access your property to install or maintain infrastructure including utilities and roads as well as to be used by public safety vehicles for the good of the community. This access is typically for a short duration during field investigation and for the duration of the construction work and restoration of the site.
- Field investigators, contractors, and surveyors should be easily identifiable, and should carry official identification. They shouldn’t need access to your home, just the part of the property where an easement was previously granted.
Property Ownership of Right of Way
Typically, there is a strip of land adjacent to the edge of the roadway that is owned by a governmental entity (City, County, or State) This strip is called a public right-of-way.
- Public right-of-way could also be owned by a utility or infrastructure agency.
- You likely do not own the property all the way to the street in front of your home or business. There are online mapping resources available to review your property lines to determine the general extent of the right-of-adjacent to the street. One such resource is hosted by Johnson County and is available here: https://aims.jocogov.org/. The right-of-way strip may seem like part of your yard, but public right-of-way is owned by the governmental entity for the benefit of the public.
- Field and construction workers can access right-of-way because the governmental entity owns the property. Because of this there is no requirement to ask permission of the adjacent property owners. If there is a need to access your property outside of the right-of-way a Right of Entry (ROE) agreement will be requested.
Maybe. In some cases, wider roads, larger pipes, new transmission, or distribution lines are needed to accommodate community growth, quality of life, and public safety.
- If the governmental entity requires more access or needs to acquire additional land, the private property owner will be contacted to discuss options.
- Typically, the governmental entity and property owner come to agreement about temporary easements, easements, and right-of-way needs. In these cases, both parties can reach agreement without going through the eminent domain process.
- Because the access or land ownership needed to build infrastructure for the public purpose often outweighs the private property right, a federally established legal process was created to ensure private property compensation is at or above fair market value. If the land needed includes or is very near a house or business is needed, the utility or infrastructure agency may pay for relocation costs. This process is followed throughout the country for federal, state, local, utilities and railroad infrastructure.
Trees, walls, sidewalks, fences, grass, plantings, monument signs, etc. will be restored if damaged due to construction activities.