Maine Revised Statutes

§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).