Is there a simple way to know when a crew can clean a ditch on private property that is fed by a road crossing pipe?
Figure 1. A ditch needing
While the law can be nebulous on the subject, a good general rule of thumb would be to do the following:
- Be sure of the right-of-way (ROW) and if you are working off the ROW
- Only work off the ROW if there is a highway purpose (safety or drainage) – Be sure to document this need
- Only go as far as is needed for the highway purpose
- Get an easement for the work from the land owner (if it looks like you need to come back, it may need to be a permanent easement)
- Be sure to clean up the site after the work
is done including adding erosion protection
- Follow up a few weeks later (after 1 or 2 storms)
to assess the work
Overall, if you are not sure and concerned about increased liability, contact your municipal attorney for guidance.
- Powers and Duties of Local Highway Officials & 2018 Powers and Duties Supplement
- Drainage Law and Drainage Situations and Problems in New York State