This article originally appeared in the International Right of Way Association Sunshine Chapter No. 26 Florida in March 2023 and was written by Peter D. Waldman.
As part of many road widening projects there is a change in grade, as the crown of the road is raised as part of necessary drainage modifications pursuant to the proposed widening and expansion of travel lanes. This elevation of the road will often have a corresponding impact on the grade differential of the travel lanes and properties adjoining those travel lanes. As a result of these changes in grade differential between the travel lanes and adjoining properties, access to those properties can be impacted pursuant to the creation of a non-functional grade differential to the adjoining properties.
As has been discussed in previous Blogs, not all properties are the same, which holds true when you are considering acceptable grade differentials to a specific property. A property that primarily experiences passenger vehicle traffic typically requires different driveway grade differentials then properties that primarily experience delivery vehicle traffic, which can differ depending on the type of delivery vehicle that primarily utilizes a particular property. When you are planning the design and potential parcels needed for a project it is important to analyze these differences.
In most cases grade differentials are resolved by harmonizing the new lanes into the adjoining properties until a functional grade differential is achieved. Although this sounds like a low impact process, that is not always the case. Depending on the grade differential that needs to be harmonized it may be necessary to go several yards into the property that is being harmonized, which could cause impacts both temporary (landscaping and use of property areas) and permanent (internal circulation and loss of parking) in nature. Once again failure to consider these potential impacts early on in the project planning and design process can result in project delays and increased acquisition costs. Just as you shouldn’t overlook other impacts that may result from a particular project you shouldn’t fail to consider the potential impacts of necessary harmonization to specific properties as part of your projects.
To read the original blog post in the International Right of Way Association Sunshine Chapter No. 26 Florida, click here.