From the Executive Summary:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is responsible for planning, developing, constructing, and maintaining a prodigious inventory of roadway and bridge assets throughout the state. Project development is a complex process involving the coordination of numerous divisions and preconstruction disciplines across the Cabinet. On many projects, right-of-way (ROW) acquisition presents many challenges. Frequently, the ROW process is found on the critical path, meaning that it effectively governs a project’s overall duration. In some cases — especially on more complex projects — acquiring the ROW may take several years. Recognizing the need to shorten the duration and improve the efficiency of the ROW process, Cabinet leadership commissioned researchers at the Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) to organize and facilitate the activities of a ROW Process Review Team. All members of the team were selected by KYTC leadership, and it consisted entirely of current and retired Cabinet personnel. Cabinet leadership envisioned a two-phase project. During Phase I (the subject of this report) the ROW Process Review Team mapped out the current ROW processand generated process improvement ideas. Phase II, if authorized, will focus on the implementation of selected process improvements.

This report begins with a discussion of the methodological approach used for this project. At the project’s outset, ROW Process Review Team members documented KYTC’s current ROW process by estimating activity durations and preparing timelines for a concept project. Team members focused on the most critical, or limiting, activities, finding that tasks associated with Appraisals, Acquisitions, and Relocations have the longest durations. Seventeen Gantt charts mapping the ROW process were prepared; each chart delineates major tasks and their constitutive steps (Appendix C). Team members subsequently turned their attention to identifying measures that could shorten the process’s overall duration. Invited speakers from the Federal Highway Administration and Indiana Department of Transportation shared their experiences,thoughts on best practices,and strategies that had been used effectively at other state transportation agencies to expedite and streamline ROW acquisition. Using its review of the Cabinet’s current ROW process and information on other state policies and practices as a springboard, team members embarked on a series of intensive brainstorming sessions, eventually generating over 100 prospective ideas to bolster the efficiency of the ROW process. Concurrently, the research team administered surveys to and conducted interviews with consultants and KYTC district-level attorneys to solicit their ideas on amending the ROW process.

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© 2020 University of Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Center

Information may not be used, reproduced, or republished without KTC’s written consent.

The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Center, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the United States Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names is for identification purposes and should not be considered an endorsement.