John Cookson, Road Comm.
Aldo Nunn, Road Foreman
Walter (Rusty) Churchill, Roadcrew
Sidney Griggs, Roadcrew
According to the VLCT, the selectboard has the responsibility for general supervision and control of town highways; especially to “supervise all expenditures” relating to town highways. The numerous duties of the selectboard concerning highways are set forth in 19 V.S.A. § 304.
The legal definition of a highway includes “rights-of-way, bridges, drainage structures, signs, guardrails, areas to accommodate utilities authorized by law to locate within highway limits, areas used to mitigate the environmental impacts of highway construction, vegetation, scenic enhancements and structures.”
Right of Way
The right-of-way of a specific highway is that which is recorded in the original survey laying out the highway or deed(s) conveying the highway to the town. However, in many instances, such records are either not available or do not specify the width of the right-of-way. In such cases, “a roadway width of one and one half rods [24’9″; 1 rod = 16½ feet] on each side of the center of the existing traveled way can be assumed and controlled for highway purposes.” 19 V.S.A. §§ 32, 702. See Town of Ludlow v. Watson (1990), 153 Vt. 437, 571 A. 2d 67.
Class 2 Highways
A town must keep class 2 highways “in good and sufficient repair during all seasons of the year.”
19 V.S.A. § 310(a). VTrans has responsibility for marking class 2 highways with painted center lines;
the town is responsible for notifying VTrans when center lines have been obliterated by resurfacing.
Class 3 Highways
A town must keep class 3 highways “in good and sufficient repair during all seasons of the year.” In addition, “The minimum standards for class 3 highways are a highway negotiable under normal conditions all seasons of the year by a standard manufactured pleasure car. This would include but not be limited to sufficient surface and base, adequate drainage, and sufficient width capable to provide winter maintenance.”
Class 4 Highways
A class 4 highway may be “maintained to the extent required by the necessity of the town, the public good and the convenience of the inhabitants of the town.” 19 V.S.A. § 310(b). Accordingly, the town is not required to regularly maintain a class 4 highway. However, VLCT interprets state law to require towns to maintain culverts and bridges on class 4 highways.
In addition, towns may be obligated to repair an out of repair or unsafe class four highway if a petition to repair the road is filed by three citizens or taxpayers in the state in accordance with 19 V.S.A. § 971.
A town shall “not be responsible for any maintenance including culverts and bridges” on trails under
19 V.S.A. § 302(a)(5); a town “shall not be liable for construction, maintenance, repair or safety of trails.”
19 V.S.A. § 310(c).
One National Life Drive
Montpelier, Vermont 05633
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