Disposition of Right of Way Abandoned by Private Turnpike Companies

Report No: 88-R13

Published in 1988

About the report:

From the late 1700s through the early 1900s Virginia chartered hundreds of joint stock companies to build turnpike roads throughout the Commonwealth. Some of these roads were well travelled and well maintained. Many are still in use today and are part of the State highway system. However, a substantial number of these turnpike roads were abandoned by the chartered companies, thus prompting the enactment of legislation in the mid-1800s to deal with the problem. The difficult questions of ownership involve these abandoned turnpikes which fell into non-use. This report tracks the statutory scheme from incorporation to abandonment, describes the property rights involved in assessing ownership, and examines relevant Virginia case law.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

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Veronica M. Kelly

Last updated: December 29, 2023

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