ALTA Survey Reporting: Showing Access to Public Right-of-Way

February 07, 2018

Establishing whether or not a property has access to a traveled roadway within a public roadway can be unclear and may create confusion for the surveyor and property owner. In this blog post, we will explain the responsibilities of the surveyor when surveying property near a public right-of-way.

Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA Surveys

According to the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA Surveys in Section 5.B, 6.c.iii and 6.iv, surveyors have specific responsibilities when reporting. It is the surveyor’s responsibility to report and show how the property gains access to a public right-of-way, or to indicate lack of such access. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether the property is actually accessing the traveled roadway within a dedicated public right-of-way when reviewing a survey. Therefore, not all surveyors are clear when labeling this information, which can lead to confusion.

The specific standards regarding the information that needs shown include items such as:

  • Street name
  • Right-of-way width
  • Indication of public or private roadway
  • Improved roadway & width of pavement, curb cuts, driveways, etc.

ALTA Survey Requirements for Access to Rights-of-Way

The main concern for the person reviewing the survey is determining whether the property line adjoins the public right-of-way to the road. In addition, the boundary line that connects should also be clearly indicated at the right-of-way line of the roadway.

Another way to confirm access to the roadway is if a metes-and-bounds description of the property is the record description, where the survey call along the roadway reads something similar to the following: “Thence N. 77 deg. 27’ 33” W. a distance of 237.55 feet along the northern right-of-way line of State Highway 41 to a point.”

As stated above, the bounded-by component of the survey call explains that the property line is along the road. It’s important to understand that the property can access the road without the need to utilize lands of others that may be between the property line and the roadway.

In instances where the surveys are presented, and the matter of access is unclear, it’s worthwhile to ask the surveyor to make a note on the survey for clarification. For example, “The surveyed property shown hereon has contiguous access to State Route 41, a dedicated public highway as shown hereon.”

It’s possible that the title company may be asked to provide an access endorsement to their policy, and their clear access indication is very important.;

ALTA Standards: Final Notes

Lastly, it’s important to note that if the property does not have direct or contiguous access to the public right-of-way, maybe through a private road or over the lands of others, the survey reviewer should be sure that the surveyed property has a beneficial right or appurtenant easement to gain access to the public way.

Established in 1973, Bock & Clark has unmatched experience in ALTA Surveys. For more information about our services, request a quote or contact us.