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Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division Records:

An Inventory of Department of Transportation Right of Way Division Records at the Texas State Archives, 1920-2017, undated



Overview

Creator: Texas. Right of Way Division.
Title: Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division records
Dates: 1920-2017, undated
Abstract: These records include conveyances, maps, and titles for property owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Right of Way Division. The Right of Way Division coordinates the acquisition of land to build, widen, or enhance highways and provides relocation assistance when needed. The division also coordinates utility adjustments, and the disposition and leasing of surplus real property owned by TxDOT. The records document these land transfers and date from 1920 to 2017, and undated. The records are part of an ongoing digitization project by TxDOT that has begun with the Austin District; the project will continue with other major-municipality districts and finish with the less populous ones.
TSLAC Control No.: TX009843
Quantity: 13.73 TB
Quantity: (404,009 electronic files)
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Agency History

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in cooperation with local and regional officials, is responsible for planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining the state's transportation system. This involves planning, designing, and acquiring right-of-way for state highways and other modes of transportation; researching issues to save lives and solve problems; constructing bridges and improving airports; and maintaining roadways, bridges, airports, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and ferry systems. Other functions carried out by TxDOT include public transportation, vehicle titles and registration, vehicle dealer registration, motor carrier registration, traffic safety, traffic information, and auto theft prevention.

The Texas Highway Department was created in 1917 (House Bill 2, 35th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to stimulate the building and improvement of roads throughout the state. The Federal Aid Road Act of July 11, 1916 (39 Stat. 355; 16 U.S.C. 503; 23 U.S.C. 15, 48), signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, initiated federal aid for highways with the requirement that each state receiving aid have a state highway department that controlled the building of roads. The department was to administer federal funds to counties for state highway construction and maintenance and provide for state motor vehicle registration, fees from which were to generate the state's required matching funds. The department began operation on June 4, 1917. After gathering information at public hearings over that summer, the commission proposed an 8,865-mile state highway network. Further influence from the national level came with the Federal Highway Act of 1921, which required state highway departments to control the design, construction, and maintenance of roads rather than follow Texas' practice of allowing counties to undertake the work themselves with oversight from department engineers.

In 1969 the Legislature created the Texas Mass Transportation Commission (House Bill 738, 61st Legislature, Regular Session) to develop public mass transportation in Texas. This agency was merged with the Highway Department in 1975, creating the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (Senate Bill 761, 64th Legislature, Regular Session). An executive order of May 1976 transferred the Governor's Office of Traffic Safety to the department. The Texas Department of Transportation was created in 1991 (House Bill 9, 72nd Legislature, 1st Called Session), merging the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Texas Department of Aviation (created as the Texas Aeronautics Commission in 1945—the name changed to the Texas Board of Aviation in 1989); and the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission (created in 1971). In 1997 the Texas Turnpike Authority merged with the Texas Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 370, 75th Legislature, Regular Session).

The Texas Department of Transportation's governing body is the Texas Transportation Commission, originally composed of three members, increased to five in 2003 (Senate Bill 409, 78th Legislature, Regular Session). Commissioners are representatives of the general public appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. Since 2003, one of the members must represent rural Texas. The positions are part-time salaried positions, and the chair (appointed by the governor) was originally called the commissioner of transportation; since 2003, each member is referred to as a commissioner.

The Right of Way Division coordinates the acquisition of land to build, widen, or enhance highways and provides relocation assistance when needed. The division also coordinates utility adjustments and the disposition and leasing of surplus real property owned by TxDOT.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); An Informal History of the Texas Department of Transportation, by Hilton Hagan (2000); divisional information found on the Texas Department of Transportation website, accessed November 10, 2020; and the records themselves.)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in cooperation with local and regional officials, is responsible for planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining the state's transportation system. This includes the design and construction of facilities for TxDOT to use in carrying out its functions. These records include conveyances, maps, and titles for property owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Right of Way Division and date from 1920 to 2017, and undated. The records are part of an ongoing digitization project by TxDOT that has begun with the Austin District; the project will continue with other major-municipality districts and finish with the less populous ones.

Records consist of conveyances, maps, and title documents, with conveyances including:

  • Affidavits: notary/legal information on documents set for multiple grantors
  • Awards of commissioners: awards for right-of-way determined by the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC)
  • Deeds: legal documents regarding property title transfers
  • Easements: portions of property used for TxDOT purposes
  • Judgments: final decisions as decreed by the TTC or a court
  • Railroad agreements: documents regarding TxDOT's use of land for railroad right-of-way
  • Releases: documents utilized when an easement/property reverts back to the grantor
  • Resolutions: settlements of disagreement through litigation
  • Utility joint use agreements: documents utilized when multiple grantors agree to release a parcel to TxDOT for utility use
  • Utility permits: TxDOT agreements with utility companies

Title documents include:

  • Attorney certificates: legal certificates signed by an attorney—if title insurance or the attorney's certificate procedure is used, TxDOT will not accept title to property that is subject to an outstanding mortgage or lien
  • General certificates: alternate, non-attorney certificates, e.g., certificates of insurance
  • Subordinations: documents utilized when lesser or other grantors are involved in a right-of-way deal with TxDOT
  • Titles: a bundle of rights tied to a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal or equitable interest

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.

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Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged alphabetically by districts determined by the Texas Department of Transportation and in numerical order by a nine-digit Right of Way Control Section Job (RCSJ) number, created by TxDOT to track jobs by location. A similar nine-digit Construction Control Section Job (CCSJ) number, also created by TxDOT to track jobs by location, is used if no RCSJ number is present. There are 25 districts, each consisting of six to 17 counties, documented on the agency's website. A list is provided below.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Department of Transportation.
Texas. Highway Department.
Texas. State Department of Highways and Public Transportation.
Subjects:
Roads--Texas--Design and construction.
Transportation and state--Texas.
Transportation, Automotive--Texas.
Transportation--Texas--Planning.
Document Types:
Conveyances.
Deeds.
Maps (documents)
Functions:
Building roads.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Department of Transportation Right of Way Division records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 2019/051, 2020/016, 2021/001

The first set of these records was transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Transportation on March 8, 2019.

Processing Information

Processed by Tiffany Criswell, September 2019

DACS compliance and other revisions to description and encoding by Tiffany Criswell, November 2020

Accruals

Additions to the records are transferred to the State Library and Archives Commission on a monthly basis and will be documented as one accession per fiscal year.

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Other Finding Aids

Electronic records described in this finding aid are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/texas-state-government/texas-state-agencies-homepage/txdot/#row.

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