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Delaware Code Title 17. Highways § 132. General powers and duties

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(a) The Department shall acquire full information concerning the roads of this State, the nature and improvement thereof, the needs thereof and the character and amount of traffic thereon and such other details as may be necessary or desirable for the Department to have in the performance of its duty of determining upon and laying out, without regard to any personal advantage or disadvantage or bias toward any person or persons, community or political party or organization, consistent and congruous route or routes of state highways with a view to establishing such a consistent, congruous, comprehensive and permanent system of state highways along the route or routes of travel as will accommodate the greatest needs of the people of this State.

(b) The Department shall:

(1) Determine upon, lay out, construct or reconstruct state highways so as to make roads which, with reasonable maintenance, shall be permanent;

(2) Maintain all state highways under its jurisdiction;

(3) Maintain a system of accounting adequate to give in detail the expenditures of the Department and the costs of its works;

(4) Keep full and accurate minutes of all meetings and records of all proceedings of the Department, which minutes and records shall be public records;

(5) Reimburse the owner thereof for the expense (as hereinafter defined) of the relocation of public utility facilities necessitated by any project where the State is to be reimbursed by at least 90% of the cost of such project from federal funds or by the federal government or any agency thereof, such expense to be the amount paid by such owner properly attributable to such relocation after deducting therefrom any increase in the value of the new facilities and any salvage value derived from the old facilities;

(6) Install on state land the tile necessary, in the opinion of the Department, to provide adequate entrances and exits to and from the property of adjoining landowners provided:

a. The tile is supplied by the adjoining landowners;

b. The tile conforms to the specifications established from time to time by the Department; and

c. The property is a single residential lot occupied or to be occupied by the land owners and intended for residential use only; or

d. The property is agricultural use land. “Agricultural use land” shall mean land devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to humans, including but not limited to: Forages and sod crops; grains and feed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding and grazing of any or all of such animals; bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products; or when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to soil conversation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.

Nothing contained in this subsection shall relieve the Department from the responsibility for replacing tile originally installed by the Department or any governmental agency and subsequently damaged by operations of the Department;

(7) Maintain the Van Buren Street Bridge over the Brandywine Creek;

(8) Provide relocation assistance to persons displaced as a result of the acquisition for highway purposes of real property upon which they live or conduct a business or farm operation in accordance with Chapter 91 of Title 29.

(c) To these ends the Department may do the following:

(1) Determine upon and lay out a system of state highways.

(2) Take over and convert into state highways any public road by whatever name such road or part thereof, or under whatever authority or control such road or part thereof, may have theretofore existed.

(3) Lay out, open, widen, straighten, grade, extend, construct, reconstruct, and maintain any state highway or proposed state highway for the purpose of the improvement of state highways.

(4) Acquire by condemnation or otherwise any land, easement, franchise, material, or property, which, in the judgment of the Department, shall be necessary therefor, provided that the Department may not reconstruct a highway unless there will result a net saving or reconstruction, further provided that § 145 of this title may not be deemed to be inconsistent with the provisions under this paragraph (c)(4).

(5) Have access to and make copies of maps, surveys, data, or information which any state agency may possess concerning any road in the State.

(6) Employ and discharge professional or technical experts, surveyors, agents, assistants, clerks, employees and laborers, skilled and unskilled, and also such advisers and consultants as may be required to accomplish the purposes of the chapter and the other responsibilities of the Department. In the event that the size of the Capital Transportation Program requires overtime to administer in a timely manner, or in the event that: (i) The federal government makes available additional funding for transportation projects which are part of the Department's Capital Transportation Program; and (ii) use of these funds in a particular federal fiscal year is required to access these funds; and (iii) overtime is required to administer the program within that federal fiscal year to assure the use of these funds, then for these purposes the Department may pay overtime moneys to those employed under this subsection, any relevant Delaware law, rule, or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.

(7) Secure and furnish offices and quarters for the Department.

(8) Exclusively grant franchises and licenses to public service corporations or to corporations furnishing gasoline or petroleum products to the air field installation operated by the federal government in Kent County, to use the state highways, in whole or in part, for a term not exceeding 50 years; provided, however, that any franchise or license granted to any such corporation furnishing gasoline or petroleum products to said air field installation shall restrict the use of said state highways to the transmission of gasoline or petroleum products to said air field installation. Any franchise or license owned by any public service corporation on April 2, 1917, is not be  1 affected by this chapter.

(9) Make and enter into any and all contracts, agreements or stipulations for the execution of the purposes of this chapter.

(10) Purchase all machinery, tools, supplies, material, and instrumentalities whatsoever which may be necessary for the full performance of its duties.

(11) Call upon the Attorney General for the Attorney General's opinion or advice touching its duties or powers.

(12) Accept lands by easement or lease in the name of the State in areas where it is deemed necessary to establish dumping areas for the use of the public, supervise and control all areas so accepted and provide suitable passageways to the dumping areas and further, police the areas in order to prevent the spread of pests and disease and make such other regulations and rules as shall be deemed necessary for the purpose of carrying out the intent and purpose of this paragraph.

(13) Enter upon the lands or waters of any person for the purpose of surveys, repairs, reconstruction, and operation of publicly financed improvements but subject at all times to responsibility for all and any damages which shall be done to the property of any such person or persons. Water levels to be maintained back of publicly financed sluices, water control structures, dams, and similar structures shall be at a level that will not cause damage to adjoining property, such as seepage of water into basements and wells, and that no lands may be flooded without the owners' full consent.

(14) Place vending machines or other items that will enable drivers to be more rested and refreshed in safety roadside rest areas, unless prohibited by federal laws, rules, or regulations. Any profits derived from such items must be credited to the Department of Transportation Safety Roadside Rest Area Fund.

a. There is hereby created within the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the Department of Transportation Safety Roadside Rest Area Fund which must be used in the operation and maintenance of the roadside rest areas under the jurisdiction of the Department.

b. Any profits realized by the Department from items available at existing roadside rest areas that are for the purpose of enabling drivers to be more rested and refreshed must be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of said Department of Transportation Safety Roadside Rest Area Fund. Such profits must be used by the Department for the operation and maintenance of the safety roadside rest area facilities within its jurisdiction.

(d) The Department may also do whatever is incidental and germane to the scope of the duties and powers conferred on it by law.

(e) The general powers and duties conferred upon the Department by this section shall be exercised by it by the establishment and supervision of any and all policies pursuant to which such powers and duties shall be carried out.

(f) Whenever the Department of Transportation widens, constructs or reconstructs any major arterial, minor arterial, collector road or proposed road in an urbanized area of this State, the Department shall incorporate within such plans, layout, widening, construction or reconstruction the construction of sidewalks, provided there is a need for sidewalks or that it can be reasonably anticipated that the need for sidewalks will exist. The Department shall have the responsibility for determining whether such need for sidewalks does or will exist for all or any part of any such project and, before arriving at a decision as to the need of such sidewalk construction, shall consult with the county department of planning, the State Planning Office, the Department of Education and the local school district in which the proposed new road construction or road widening construction is to take place. The cost of such sidewalk construction shall be included in the total cost of the new road construction or road widening project. This subsection shall apply only to projects funded pursuant to acts authorizing the State to borrow money and issue bonds and notes for capital improvements, enacted after January 1, 1973.

(g) The Department shall have exclusive original supervision and regulation of all public carriers and also over their property, property rights, equipment, facilities, franchises, rates, fares, tariffs, regulations, practices, measurements and services.

(h) The Department may work in conjunction with any political subdivision of the State and with any private organization to plan and construct such bicycle and pedestrian transportation facilities as may be appropriate. In carrying out this portion of its overall program, the Department may take into consideration in scheduling its projects those in which the affected local community is willing to contribute a matching share (whether in cash, rights of way, or other in-kind services) in order to accomplish the project.

1 So in enrolled bill.

Cite this article: - Delaware Code Title 17. Highways § 132. General powers and duties - last updated January 01, 2022 |

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