STATE HIGHWAY LAW - TITLE 23
§651. State and state aid highways
The department may alter, widen or change the grade of any state or state aid highway whenever in its judgment the public exigency may require, and may lay out, establish and open a new highway as a state highway, and upon appropriate petition from municipal officers may lay out, establish and open a new highway as a state aid highway. It may discontinue a highway, or a portion thereof, as a state or state aid highway and the same shall be thereafter maintained by the town or county originally liable therefor except as otherwise provided. [1971, c. 593, §22 (AMD).]
The department, in consultation with a municipality, may preserve and develop the natural scenic beauty along and adjacent to any state or state aid highway to integrate the public improvement with the aesthetics of the area traversed by the highway, particularly along those areas of the highway that constitute the entrance to that municipality. The department shall consult with each municipality traversed by a state or state aid highway on the placement of utility poles and signs within the boundaries of that municipality. The department may establish and maintain rest areas, turn-outs and parking strips for the suitable accommodation of the public whenever in its judgment the public exigency may require. [2003, c. 119, §1 (AMD).]
The department may construct ditches and drains to carry water away from any highway that is under its supervision or that it is constructing, and over or through any lands of persons or corporations when it deems it necessary for public convenience or for the proper care of such highway. No such ditch or drain shall pass under or within 20 feet of any dwelling house without the consent of the owner thereof. [1971, c. 593, §22 (AMD).]
Wherever, on or along public highways, ditches or drains have existed for a period of 20 years or longer, which cause water to be flowed away from the highway, there shall be a conclusive presumption that easements for such flowage from such ditches or drains exist, but only to the extent of the original flowage. This paragraph does not apply in the cases protected by section 6025. [1987, c. 141, Pt. B, §18 (AMD).]
The department shall take into consideration the interests of a municipality as to the location of any state or state aid highway construction or alteration within the boundaries of that municipality. [2003, c. 119, §2 (AMD).]
The department, at its discretion, may authorize a person, corporation or entity who has had conditions imposed pursuant to Title 23, section 704-A or by other governmental review to perform construction work on the state or state aid highway system and on town ways. The performance of the work must be in compliance with the department's standards for highway and bridge construction, traffic control and bonding and any other standards or conditions the department may impose. All of the department's expenses and administrative costs relating to the work must be paid by the person authorized to perform the work. Notwithstanding the Maine Tort Claims Act, Title 14, chapter 741, the State or its employees are immune from suit for damages arising from any activities performed in connection with this work. [1999, c. 468, §1 (AMD).]
1965, c. 295, §2 (AMD). 1969, c. 212, (AMD). 1971, c. 593, §22 (AMD). 1987, c. 141, §B18 (AMD). 1991, c. 409, §3 (AMD). 1999, c. 468, §1 (AMD). 2003, c. 119, §§1,2 (AMD).
§653. Highway boundaries
1. Authority. The department may establish the boundary lines, limits or locations of any or all state highways and state aid highways and cause durable monuments to be erected at the angles thereof.
[ 1999, c. 188, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Reestablishment of lost or doubtful boundaries. Whenever in the opinion of the department the boundary lines, limits or location of any state highway or state aid highway or any part thereof are lost, uncertain or doubtful, the department may reestablish those lines, limits or location; land lying within those lines is a part of the highway right-of-way. The department shall file with the town clerk of the town in which the highway is located and with the registry of deeds in the county in which the highway is located maps showing the boundary lines, limits or location of such a reestablished highway, and those lines, boundaries, limits and location are those of the reestablished highway. The department shall post descriptions of those parts of such highways that lie within towns in one conspicuous place in those towns and at 2 points along the highway, and it shall publish a description of those parts of highways that lie within any county in a newspaper, if any, in that county.
In the absence of record, plan or layout sufficient to reestablish the boundary lines, limits or location of a state highway or state aid highway, the width of a state highway or state aid highway is deemed to extend to and include the area lying outside the shoulders and ditch lines and within any landmarks or historic features such as fences, fence posts, tree rows, stone walls, corner stones or other monuments indicating the boundary line.
In the absence of record, plan or layout or any landmarks or historic features that evidence the location of the boundaries of the right-of-way, the width of a state highway or state aid highway is deemed to extend to and include the sidewalks, shoulders and ditch lines adjacent to that highway and to the top of cuts or toe of fills where they exist.
Any person aggrieved by the reestablishment of boundary lines, limits and location of a reestablished highway may file a complaint for the assessment of damages to the Superior Court in the county where the reestablished highway is located within 60 days from the filing of maps with the registry of deeds, and not thereafter, and the court shall assess the damages, if any, by jury, as long as the reestablished boundary lines, limits or location are not the same as originally established. The department shall pay from its funds all expenses incurred and the amount of final judgment and costs if damages are awarded, except that the amount of the final judgment and costs must be paid by the plaintiff if the plaintiff fails to recover any damages.
[ 1999, c. 188, §1 (NEW) .]
1971, c. 593, §22 (AMD). 1999, c. 188, §1 (RPR).
§654. Detour roads and signs
Before a state or state-aid highway is closed due to construction, the department shall establish a practical detour route and properly sign the route at all intersections. The detour route shall be maintained in a condition adequate to serve traffic until the state or state-aid highway under construction is opened to traffic. Upon completion of the construction project all detour signs shall be removed. [1989, c. 108, §1 (RPR).]
1971, c. 593, §22 (AMD). 1975, c. 771, §251 (AMD). 1989, c. 108, §1 (RPR).