27:7-24. Settlement of controversies involving land used as highway; award
The commissioner may settle and compromise, in such manner and upon such terms as he, in his discretion, may deem advisable, all controversies which have or shall have arisen respecting the location of a public highway, or any part thereof, under his jurisdiction and control, or respecting the width and boundaries of such public highway or any portion thereof, and all controversies which have or shall have arisen respecting the right of the state, through its duly constituted agencies, to seize and take possession of, as part of a public highway, under his jurisdiction and control, lands possessed and occupied as private property, under claim of ownership, for a long period of time, without any right being asserted therein by the state, or its predecessor in the alleged claim of title.
In determining these controversies the commissioner shall ascertain, if possible, whether the land has ever actually been used as a part of the public highway, and if such use has been abandoned, and whether the land has been the subject of private ownership for such long period of time that the taking thereof without adequate compensation would work a great hardship, and make such disposition of the matters in dispute as the principles of right and justice may require.
In the exercise of these powers the commissioner may award compensation, whenever he deems such award suitable and proper, and defray the cost of removing and rebuilding structures which encroach on the highway, and vacate the whole or any part of the land in controversy, if he deems that course proper.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016