Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 3. Highway Systems
12/1/2022

Article 2. Primary State Highway System.

§ 33.2-310. Primary state highway system.

The primary state highway system shall be constructed and maintained by the Commonwealth under the direction and supervision of the Board and the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1950, § 33-23; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-25; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-311. Certain highways in parks included in primary state highway system.

All highways in state parks that provide connections between highways, in either the primary or secondary state highway system, outside such parks and recreation centers within such parks shall continue to be portions of the primary state highway system.

Code 1950, § 33-24; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-31; 1986, c. 498; 1989, c. 656; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-312. Maintenance of highways, bridges, and toll facilities within state parks.

The Commissioner of Highways may maintain all highways, bridges, and toll facilities within the boundaries of any state park established by and under the control of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. For the purpose of maintaining the highways in any such park, the Commissioner of Highways may expend funds under his control and available for expenditure upon the maintenance of highways in the secondary state highway system in the county or counties in which such state park is located. This section shall not affect the jurisdiction, control, and right to establish such highways, bridges, and toll facilities that are now vested in the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

All roads, bridges, and toll facilities constructed by way of revenue bonds issued by the Department of Conservation and Recreation shall operate under the terms of their establishment as a park facility, notwithstanding the right of the Commissioner of Highways to use highway funds to maintain them.

Code 1950, § 33-25; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-32; 1986, c. 498; 1989, c. 656; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-313. Maintenance of highways at state institutions.

The Commissioner of Highways may, when requested by the governing body of a state institution, assume the maintenance of any highway within the grounds of such state institution that has been established and constructed by such institution to standards acceptable to the Commissioner of Highways. Any such highways accepted for maintenance by the Commissioner of Highways under the provisions of this section shall be a part of the primary state highway system, but the state institution shall continue to exercise police power over such highways.

1970, c. 322, § 33.1-33; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-314. Transfer of highways, bridges, and streets from secondary to primary state highway system; additions to primary state highway system.

A. The Board may transfer such highways, bridges, and streets as it deems proper from the secondary state highway system to the primary state highway system. Upon such transfer, the highways, bridges, and streets so transferred shall become for all purposes parts of the primary state highway system. The Board may add such highways, bridges, and streets as it deems proper to the primary state highway system. The total mileage of such highways, bridges, and streets so transferred or added by the Board shall not exceed 50 miles during any one year.

B. When the Chief Engineer of the Department recommends that it is appropriate in connection with the completion of a construction or maintenance project to transfer highways, bridges, and streets from the secondary state highway system to the primary state highway system, the Commissioner of Highways may transfer such highways, bridges, and streets as he deems proper. Upon such transfer, the highways, bridges, and streets so transferred shall become for all purposes parts of the primary state highway system and cease being parts of the secondary state highway system.

Code 1950, § 33-26; 1952, c. 17; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-34; 2011, cc. 36, 152; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-315. Transfer of highways, bridges, and streets from primary to secondary state highway system.

A. The Board may transfer such highways, bridges, and streets as it deems proper from the primary state highway system to the secondary state highway system or, if requested by the local governing body, to the local system of roads operated by a locality receiving payments pursuant to § 33.2-319 or 33.2-366. Upon such transfer, the highways, bridges, and streets so transferred shall become for all purposes parts of the secondary state highway system or the local system of roads operated by a locality receiving payments pursuant to § 33.2-319 or 33.2-366. The total mileage of such highways, bridges, and streets so transferred by the Board shall not exceed 150 miles during any one year.

B. When the Chief Engineer of the Department recommends that it is appropriate in connection with the completion of a construction or maintenance project to transfer highways, bridges, and streets from the primary state highway system to the secondary state highway system, the Commissioner of Highways may transfer such highways, bridges, and streets as he deems proper. Upon such transfer, the highways, bridges, and streets so transferred shall become for all purposes parts of the secondary state highway system and cease being parts of the primary state highway system.

Code 1950, § 33-27; 1956, c. 39; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-35; 2009, c. 476; 2011, cc. 36, 152; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-316. Primary state highway system map.

The Commissioner of Highways shall prepare and keep on file in his office for public inspection a complete map showing the routes of the primary state highway system.

Code 1950, § 33-30; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-36; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-317. Establishment, construction, and maintenance exclusively by Commonwealth; funds.

The highways embraced within the primary state highway system shall be established, constructed, and maintained exclusively by the Commonwealth under the direction and supervision of the Commissioner of Highways, with such state funds as may be appropriated and made available for such purposes, together with such appropriations as may be made by any county, district, city, or town in the Commonwealth and such funds as are available or derived from the federal government for highway building and improvement in the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 33-31; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-37; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-318. Bypasses through or around cities and towns.

A. The Commissioner of Highways may acquire by gift, purchase, exchange, condemnation, or otherwise such lands or interest therein necessary or proper for the purpose and may construct and improve thereon such bypasses or extensions and connections of the primary state highway system through or around cities and towns as the Board deems necessary for the uses of the primary state highway system, provided that the respective cities and towns with populations of 3,500 or more by action of their governing bodies agree to participate in all costs of such construction and improvement, including the cost of rights-of-way, on that portion of any such bypass or extension that is located within any such city or town. The maintenance of that portion of a bypass or extension located within a city or town shall be borne by the city or town. However, the Board shall contribute to such maintenance in accordance with the provisions of law governing its contribution to the maintenance of highways, bridges, and streets in such cities and towns. The location, form, and character of informational, regulatory, and warning signs, curb and pavement, or other markings and traffic signals installed or placed by any public authority shall be subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Highways. At both ends of bypasses through or around cities and towns, the Commissioner of Highways shall erect and maintain adequate directional signs of sufficient size and suitable design to indicate clearly the main route leading directly into such cities and towns.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, in any case in which a municipality refuses to contribute to the construction of a bypass or an extension or connection of the primary state highway system within said municipality, the Commissioner of Highways may construct such bypass or extension and connection without any contribution by the municipality when the Board determines that such bypass or extension and connection is primarily rural in character and that the most desirable and economical location is within the municipality. Any bypass or extension and connection built under this subsection shall be maintained by the Commissioner of Highways as a part of the primary state highway system, and the municipality shall receive no payment for such bypass or extension and connection under § 33.2-319.

C. All the provisions of general law relating to the exercise of eminent domain by the Commissioner of Highways are applicable to such bypasses, extensions, and connections of the primary state highway system.

D. The Board may expend out of funds appropriated to the Board and allocated to an applicable project under § 33.2-358, 33.2-370, or 33.2-371 such funds as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

Code 1950, § 33-35; 1964, c. 258; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-39; 1977, c. 578; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 684.

§ 33.2-319. Payments to cities and certain towns for maintenance of certain highways.

A. The Commissioner of Highways, subject to the approval of the Board, shall make payments for maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of highways to all cities and towns eligible for funds under this section. Such payments, however, shall only be made if those highways functionally classified as principal and minor arterial roads are maintained to a standard satisfactory to the Department. Whenever any city or town qualifies under this section for allocation of funds, such qualification shall continue to apply to such city or town regardless of any subsequent change in population and shall cease to apply only when so specifically provided by an act of the General Assembly.

Funds are allocated to urban highways in (i) all towns that have a population of more than 3,500 according to the last preceding United States census; (ii) all towns that, according to evidence satisfactory to the Board, have attained a population of more than 3,500 since the last preceding United States census; (iii) Chase City, Elkton, Grottoes, Narrows, Pearisburg, and Saltville, which, on June 30, 1985, maintained certain streets under former § 33.1-80 as then in effect; (iv) all cities regardless of their populations; and (v) the Towns of Altavista, Dublin, Lebanon, and Wise.

B. No payments shall be made to any such city or town unless the portion of the highway for which such payment is made either (i) has (a) an unrestricted right-of-way at least 50 feet wide and (b) a hard-surface width of at least 30 feet; (ii) has (a) an unrestricted right-of-way at least 80 feet wide, (b) a hard-surface width of at least 24 feet, and (c) approved engineering plans for the ultimate construction of an additional hard-surface width of at least 24 feet within the same right-of-way; (iii)(a) is a cul-de-sac, (b) has an unrestricted right-of-way at least 40 feet wide, and (c) has a turnaround that meets applicable standards set by the Department; (iv) either (a) has been paved and has constituted part of the primary or secondary state highway system prior to annexation or incorporation or (b) has constituted part of the secondary state highway system prior to annexation or incorporation and is paved to a minimum width of 16 feet subsequent to such annexation or incorporation and with the further exception of streets or portions thereof that have previously been maintained under the provisions of § 33.2-339 or 33.2-340; (v) was eligible for and receiving such payments under the laws of the Commonwealth in effect on June 30, 1985; (vi) is a street established prior to July 1, 1950, that has an unrestricted right-of-way width of not less than 30 feet and a hard-surface width of not less than 16 feet; (vii) is a street functionally classified as a local street that was constructed on or after January 1, 1996, and that at the time of approval by the city or town met the criteria for pavement width and right-of-way of the then-current design standards for subdivision streets as set forth in regulations adopted by the Board; (viii) is a street previously eligible to receive street payments that is located in the City of Norfolk or the City of Richmond and is closed to public travel, pursuant to legislation enacted by the governing body of the locality in which it is located, for public safety reasons, within the boundaries of a publicly funded housing development owned and operated by the local housing authority; or (ix) is a local street, otherwise eligible, containing one or more physical protuberances placed within the right-of-way for the purpose of controlling the speed of traffic.

However, the Commissioner of Highways may waive the requirements as to hard-surface pavement or right-of-way width for highways where the width modification is at the request of the governing body of the locality and is to protect the quality of the affected locality's drinking water supply or, for highways constructed on or after July 1, 1994, to accommodate some other special circumstance where such action would not compromise the health, safety, or welfare of the public. The modification is subject to such conditions as the Commissioner of Highways may prescribe.

C. For the purpose of calculating allocations and making payments under this section, the Department shall divide affected highways into two categories, which shall be distinct from but based on functional classifications established by the Federal Highway Administration: (i) principal and minor arterial roads and (ii) collector roads and local streets. Payments made to affected localities shall be based on the number of moving-lane-miles of highways or portions thereof available to peak-hour traffic in that locality.

D. Any city converting an existing moving-lane that qualifies for payments under this section to a transit-only lane after July 1, 2014, shall remain eligible for such payments but shall not receive additional funds as a result of such conversion. Any city or town converting an existing moving-lane that qualifies for payments under this section to a bicycle-only lane after July 1, 2014, shall remain eligible for such payments, provided that (i) the number of moving-lane-miles converted is not more than 50 moving-lane-miles or three percent of the city's or town's total number of moving-lane-miles on July 1, 2014, whichever is less, and (ii) prior to any such conversion, the city or town certifies that the conversion design has been assessed by a professional engineer licensed in the Commonwealth pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 54.1-400 et seq.) of Title 54.1 and that the assessment has demonstrated that (a) the level of service of the street to be converted will not be reduced or if it will be reduced that the associated roadway network will retain adequate capacity to meet current and future mobility needs of all users and (b) the conversion has been designed in accordance with the National Association of City Transportation Officials' Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Any such city or town shall not receive additional funds as a result of such conversion to a bicycle-only lane and shall annually expend funds on road and street maintenance and operations that are at least equal to funds spent on road and street maintenance and operations in the year prior to such conversion. For purposes of this subsection, "level of service" has the meaning provided in the Transportation Research Board's Highway Capacity Manual.

E. The Department shall recommend to the Board an annual rate per category to be computed using the base rate of growth planned for the Department's Highway Maintenance and Operations program. The Board shall establish the annual rates of such payments as part of its allocation for such purpose, and the Department shall use those rates to calculate and put into effect annual changes in each qualifying city's or town's payment under this section.

The payments by the Department shall be paid in equal sums in each quarter of the fiscal year, and payments shall not exceed the allocation of the Board.

F. The chief administrative officer of the city or town receiving these funds shall make annual categorical reports of expenditures to the Department, in such form as the Board shall prescribe, accounting for all expenditures, certifying that none of the money received has been expended for other than maintenance, construction, or reconstruction of the streets, and reporting on their performance as specified in subsection B of § 33.2-352. Such reports shall be included in the scope of the annual audit of each municipality conducted by independent certified public accountants.

1985, c. 42, § 33.1-41.1; 1991, c. 353; 1992, c. 267; 1994, c. 459; 1996, cc. 149, 821; 1997, c. 49; 1998, c. 441; 2000, c. 97; 2002, c. 673; 2004, c. 118; 2007, c. 813; 2011, cc. 434, 493; 2014, c. 805; 2015, cc. 684, 722; 2017, c. 534; 2020, c. 645.

§ 33.2-320. Incorporation into primary state highway system of connecting streets and highways in certain other cities and towns.

The Board may, by and with the consent of the Governor and the governing body of any city or town having a population of 3,500 or less, incorporate in the primary state highway system such streets and highways or portions thereof in such city or town as may in its judgment be best for the handling of traffic through such city or town from or to any highway in the primary state highway system and may eliminate any of such streets or highways or portions thereof from the primary state highway system. Every such action of the Board incorporating any such street or highway or portion thereof in the primary state highway system or eliminating it therefrom shall be recorded in its minutes.

Any such street or highway or portion thereof in any such city or town so incorporated in the primary state highway system shall be subject to the rules, regulations, and control of the state highway authorities as are other highways in the primary state highway system. But such city or town shall be obligated to pay the maintenance, construction, and reconstruction costs of such streets or highways or portions thereof so incorporated in the primary state highway system in excess of the amounts authorized to be spent by the Commissioner of Highways on such streets or highways.

Every provision in the charter of any such city or town insofar as it is in conflict with this section is hereby repealed.

The Commissioner of Highways may permit such city or town to maintain any such street or highway or portion thereof incorporated in the primary state highway system and may reimburse such city or town up to such amount as he is authorized to expend on the maintenance of such street or highway or portion thereof.

Code 1950, § 33-35.3; 1964, c. 256; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-42; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-321. Agreements between Commonwealth Transportation Board and certain counties for operation of certain devices on state highways.

The Commissioner of Highways is empowered to enter into agreements with the governing bodies of counties that have withdrawn or elect to withdraw from the secondary state highway system pursuant to § 11 of Chapter 415 of the Acts of Assembly of 1932, upon such terms as may be agreeable between the parties, in order to authorize such counties to install, maintain, and control traffic signals, parking meters, lane-use control signals, and other traffic control devices at specific locations on the primary or secondary state highway system within such counties. Such counties and the Commissioner of Highways shall have the authority to do all things reasonable or convenient to effectuate the purposes of this section.

1977, c. 175, § 33.1-46.3; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-322. Counties may perform certain maintenance.

Any county may enter into an agreement with the Department to permit the county to landscape and maintain any or all medians and other nontraveled portions of primary highways located in the county.

1980, c. 147, § 33.1-46.4; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-323. Approval of markings and traffic lights erected by towns.

Notwithstanding any provision of law contrary to this section, all markings and traffic lights installed or erected by towns on the primary highways maintained by the Department shall first be approved by the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1950, § 33-36; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-47; 2014, c. 805.