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Legal road access question

BSK

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Mar 11, 1999
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68,158
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Nashville, TN
How does one find out what roads are actually public access? Is there a point at which a road no longer maintained by the county becomes private to the landowner?
 
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Omega

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Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
1,751
Location
Clarksville, TN
Good question, there is a county road that the landowner has put a gate across, and I don't see how he could get away with that after the county paid so much to pave it.
 

gtk

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Jan 26, 2001
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Colorado via Mississippi
This example is from MS, so not sure if TN would be same.

A person had some land that a county road went thru. It was "un maintained". The landowner was tired of roadhunters riding the road, so he went to county office and somehow had them "close" the road. Now the county road dead ends into their property instead of goin thru it.
 

BSK

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Joined
Mar 11, 1999
Messages
68,158
Location
Nashville, TN
This example is from MS, so not sure if TN would be same.

A person had some land that a county road went thru. It was "un maintained". The landowner was tired of roadhunters riding the road, so he went to county office and somehow had them "close" the road. Now the county road dead ends into their property instead of goin thru it.
I could be wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that a dirt road becomes private once the county stops maintaining it for "X" number of years. Don't remember the number of years.
 

gtk

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Not sure Bsk. I know this road i'm referring to, was mainly dirt, and unmaintained for many many years. The county road ran down the property line between our hunting club and another parcel of land. The landowner who bought the property beside our club went to the county and they closed it, which then allowed us to put up a gate. Took a while for the "locals" to accept the fact they couldn't ride thru, but they finally got the idea.
 

Kirk

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Aug 7, 2001
Messages
12,674
Location
Charleston, TN USA
At the city level the city planners office is in charge. I only know this because the company I work for has bought several adjoining properties and had roads closed. Houses were torn down and the roads were reclaimed. (bull dozed and re-sodded.)

A few were turned into parking lots.
 

Jmed

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2013
Messages
874
Location
Ooltewah
Check with the County Road department/ superintendent. You'r on the right track with the fact of the county maintaining or not but I have no clue on number of years
 

hbg1

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Dec 21, 2015
Messages
320
In wayne county if all adjoining landowners agree to stopping public access and local maintenance the road superintendent can close the road
 

Snake

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May 3, 2009
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34,123
Location
McMinn Co.Tennessee U.S.
I would guess if the county maintained it then it is a county road when they quit maintaining it then it is private I assume. This property we leased in Cumberland had a road going through it to another county road , no houses on it and the landowner we leased from owned the property on both sides . People from that area would come through there as it was a short cut to the main hwy but it was poach city. We asked landowner if we could gate it , he said ill save you some money so he cut ditches at both ends so no normal vehicle could go through there. Neighbors raised mortaly he77 , one seen me there scouting and came up to me asking what in the he77 did we think we were doing? I said landowner did it because we was going to gate it . Guy said you can't county road ! I said nope they don't maintain it and there are no one that owns land connected to it but him . Mad man but he's out a poaching area . Even called the county sheriff but they told him same thing . He came back through later and waited on me just to tell me he would open it back up with a skidder . I told him I didn't care what he did but if your caught you'll get a ticket for destroying private property and if I'm the one that sees you I'll call the landowner . Some people think they are above the law
 

Chaneylake

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Dec 18, 2007
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39,602
Location
on the wings of a snow white dove
Us Land Surveyors were taught that if no "deeded ROW existed" then most counties in Tennessee had no authority beyond back of the ditch.
The State Highway Department will mail a copy of any State road to you. I don't know if this is still free.
For anything else a person should be able to get the required information from your local highway department.
 

Sam Davis

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2020
Messages
132
Location
Tennessee
I work for a county Highway department and since I been there I have seen 2 roads closed. Both times a landowner went before the county commissioners and road superintendent at a county court meeting and gave the reasons for the request to close it.
Then it was posted in the local paper when they closed them. One road had 1 house at the end and the people passed away and the place was abandoned. Other road bridge washed away at the bottom of the hill and we couldn’t get funding to replace it because we had 4 other bridges washed away during the flood.
 

catman529

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Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
28,826
Location
Franklin TN
How does one find out what roads are actually public access? Is there a point at which a road no longer maintained by the county becomes private to the landowner?
Property maps usually show an easement for a public road or access. Sometimes it’s questionable so the local area manager, forest ranger etc is probably the best person to ask. I pulled off into the grass on a dead end road last year, right in front of someone’s gated driveway and across the street from another house. The property map showed it all as public property up to the gate and fence and half way up the other people’s front yard, and the yellow T posts in their front yard confirmed it. Nobody gave me any trouble, even said hi to a guy walking his dogs. Lol
 

Ahuntin1

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2009
Messages
720
Location
Collierville, TN
There might be some case law, but I think if there is not a ROW abandonment motion by the governing authority, a period of time equal to create a prescriptive easement would be clear to show abandonment. Any adjoining neighbors would maintain an ingress easement if they continue to use it. I’ll try to look at some recourses in the office tomorrow if I get a chance
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
719
Location
West TN
County roads superintendent is the person to call. In my experience the county doesn’t always maintain what they are responsible for but they can definitely tell what is “theirs”.
 

PickettSFHunter

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Jan 11, 2004
Messages
20,219
Location
Jamestown, TN
In my county, you would go to the road superintendent. You would then end up in front of the County commission. From
there it’s going to depend on who has the most pull/family/money in the county. The landowner wanting the road removed, or the poachers/joyriders/always done this crowd. Seen it happen numerous times here and have seen it go for the landowner or for the other crowd depending on the pull/family/money.
 

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