Section: Long-term placement
The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The purpose of the State highway system is to serve as a network of principal arterial routes for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods in the major travel corridors of the State.
b. The existing State highways which comprise the State highway system were constructed at great public expense and constitute irreplaceable public assets.
c. The State has a public trust responsibility to manage and maintain effectively each highway within the State highway system to preserve its functional integrity and public purpose for the present and future generations.
d. Land development activities and unrestricted access to State highways can impair the purpose of the State highway system and damage the public investment in that system.
e. Every owner of property which abuts a public road has a right of reasonable access to the general system of streets and highways in the State, but not to a particular means of access. The right of access is subject to regulation for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety and welfare.
f. Governmental entities through regulation may not eliminate all access to the general system of streets and highways without providing just compensation.
g. The access rights of an owner of property abutting a State highway must be held subordinate to the public's right and interest in a safe and efficient highway.
h. It is desirable for the Department of Transportation to establish through regulation a system of access management which will protect the functional integrity of the State highway system and the public investment in that system.
i. Areas characterized by extensive commercial activity oriented toward and dependent upon a State highway should not be classified by reason of that level of activity as urban environments for access management purposes, and where an area is also characterized by excessive driveway openings, excessive traffic congestion, excessive accident rates, or undesirably low average rates of speed the Department of Transportation should manage the State highway within the area to mitigate these nuisances.
j. The Department of Transportation should, in implementing an access management program, avoid undue burdens on property owners and should, where feasible, incorporate mitigation measures into comprehensive highway improvement programs.
k. Improved access management is beneficial for streets and highways of every functional classification, and a statutory plan providing for improved management should enable counties and municipalities to take full advantage of its provisions.
L. 1989, c. 32, s. 2.
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