New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

Quick Answers: Legal / Liability

The Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) guidance document referenced in the recent ADA workshop appears to be a draft. Is this a draft and where can I find the most current version? (6/3/21)

I have a question regarding the use of gutters as a stormwater conveyance structures. This question arises out of a bicyclist slipping on some ice at an intersection in which stormwater had frozen. Is there anything in writing that would withstand legal scrutiny that defines gutters as  stormwater conveyance structures? (4/1/21)

I have received complaints about landscaping trucks parking on roads while they are servicing lawns for long periods of time. What are the regulations or procedures that govern the use and obstruction of public roads for private business activities such as landscaping?  (3/10/21)

The New York State Department of State (DOS) has a local law database where you can find sample laws. (2/11/21)

I have developed a Snow and Ice Policy and presented it to my town board. Does the board need to adopt the policy or just “support” it? (1/28/21)

Can a Municipality use an intersection as part of a turnaround for a boat launch? (11/10/20)

Can an elected highway superintendent of one town work for a highway department of another town as a highway employee? (10/19/20)

What are the requirements for permanently posting a road for weight? (8/20/20)

Is there a way to submit CHIPS and other state reimbursement requests via email? (6/26/20)

Have the guidelines for the use of state owned rights-of-way (ROW) changed in any way as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis? (6/25/20)

Are Highway Department Employees essential in light of the 50% reduction of staff due to COVID-19? (4/2/20)

Where can I find sample “piggybacking” contract language that my municipality can use? (3/5/20)

Where can I find a sample policy or public notice about winter maintenance mailbox damage? (1/9/19)

Can a town designate a town road: “No Through Traffic - Local Traffic Only”? (12/6/19)

I am a town highway superintendent and I have a newly reconstructed road where I want to post a weight limit of 15 tons. The road is being used as a short cut by tractor trailers and I want them to stay on the main state roads. What would be the process for establishing this weight limit? (10/23/19)

I would like a stop sign installed at an intersection I think is dangerous. What is the process for requesting the installation of a stop sign at an intersection near a school?  (10/16/19)

Who or what determines the responsibilities of a shared road between two municipalities? (9/17/19)

What are the dimensions that must be maintained for a clear path regarding vegetation and obstacles along a highway? (9/11/19)

Are there any rules, regulations or requirements for how many hours a day a municipal worker with a CDL can plow a highway? (7/17/19)

Is parking allowed across the street parallel to the opening end of a T intersection? (6/13/19)

Can a town Highway Superintendent appoint a foreman within the department to the position of Deputy Highway Superintendent where the foremen would be serving in both capacities at the same time? (5/2/19)

If I have a gravel road that has no structures, driveways, or easements on it, and is designated as a Seasonal Limited Use Highway, can I barricade it during frost-thaw months to restrict access to vehicles that would damage the road? (3/27/19)

What is the new Excavator Certification Training and who needs to be certified? (2/19/19)

Do horse riders have the-right-of-way at a highway crossing? (1/8/19)

Are municipal employees typically allowed to use municipally owned dump trucks and trailers for the purpose of completing their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) A and B road test? (12/6/18)

Are purple and white acceptable colors for a village to choose for a village trail sign? (11/7/18)

Does the MUTCD allow intersection murals or widespread application of artwork to the street? (8/29/18)

Can a village speed limit be set to 25 mph? (8/14/18)

When are curve and turn signs required? (8/8/18)

Who has to authorize the placement of traffic lines for passing and no passing zones on a town highway? (7/31/18)

Can a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) eliminate the power of the Highway Superintendent to hire as the Superintendent sees fit? (7/3/18)

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? (6/11/18)

Do Villages have their own version of the Office of the Town Highway Superintendent or “Red Book?” (5/23/18)

Is there a law that allows a municipal highway department to remove trees, brush, and vegetation along the right of way area of a road and/or are there any regulations or laws that protect trees along the right of way, thus prohibiting a municipality from removing trees? (5/9/18)

What resources are available for property owners who have problems with stream bank erosion on their land? (4/26/18)

Does a highway superintendent have to publically advertise a vacancy for a position even if they already know of a person who is interested and would be a good fit for theposition? (3/29/18)

Can someone be the town highway superintendent of one town but live in a different town? (1/30/18)

What are the drug and alcohol testing requirements for DOT CDL drivers?

Where do I find New York State case law?

When damage is caused to a highway by a private contractor due to their equipment not utilizing proper pavement protections, who is liable and responsible for damages?

Do I have to follow MUTCD?

Can a village board lower the weight limit allowed on a street?

Should I use my personal email account for highway business?

What are the NYS requirements for a municipality to remove an existing sign?

Does the board need to pass a resolution to authorize the highway department to spend the additional money of PAVE NY program?

How do I change the allowable weight limit on a bridge?

What is the difference between no parking, no standing, and no stopping?

Where can I find a Temporary Easement form?

What can the Town Highway Superintendent do when the Town Board eliminates an employee position from the highway crew?

Does a municipality have to go to bid to purchase a used vehicle?

Is there a specific regulation that sets a timer for the replacement of downed signs?


How do I sign/stripe a parking space for persons with disabilities on the street?

Can municipalities be compelled to replace their signs to meet the new retroreflectivity standards?

What does the board have to do to use the “Best Value” method for purchasing?

Can we use existing rustic box beam in stock to replace rusting rustic box beam?

What is the easiest way to retire a right of way when both the Town and the adjacent landowners wish to abandon it?

What does the Board need to do in order to have the Highway Department install a mid-block crosswalk?

Is it true that we have to start using a new handicap sign?

When do I have to call 811?

Is there a law about home owners putting markers along the roads to keep snow plows off the shoulders?

Can a private landowner plow a seasonal road to access his property?

Do unreported accidents count toward the accident history warrant, or do only reported accidents count?

Where is a good source for financial information for Town Highway Superintendents?

Who set speed limits on local highways?


What are the snow disposal responsibilities for property owners?

How do I determine who owns a piece of property?

Who is responsible for clearing brush at an intersection owned by two different municipalities?

Can a CDL driver go back to safety-sensitive work after a post-accident alcohol and drug test, but before the results are known?

Where can I find legal opinions of the NYS Comptroller?

What are the rules for Seasonal Limited Use Highways

Is there a requirement that the doctor doing the examination for a CDL license be certified?

Does creating a plan to deal with highway design or safety defects or accommodation issues increase liability?

Where can we find that Piggybacking memo mentioned at the Highway School?

Are highway departments considered ‘first responders’ by Homeland Security?

Does a town have an obligation to remove diseased trees on roads on the town's right of way?

Can I paint a single yellow stripe down the center of a highway just for guidance?

Is a Highway Department permitted to put up a NO PARKING ON PAVEMENT sign without a sidewalk district?

What are the sign regulations for attaching a NO LITTERING sign to a speed limit sign post?

What is the ‘Red Book’ that Highway Superintendents should have in their library and how do I obtain a copy?

What training and certification is needed for flaggers?

What do I have to do to meet the sign retroreflectivity standard that goes into effect on June 13, 2014?

What are the proper ways to sign one or more parking spaces for persons with disabilities?

How do I get reimbursements for work done under CHIPS and the new Winter Recovery Fund?

What are the requirements for a roadside mailbox?

What is an Erwin Plan Road?

Can CHIPS funding be used to develop an asset or pavement management plan?


Can you mark road shoulders as bike lanes?

When do you need to install ADA compliant curb ramps as part of a pavement resurfacing project?

What are the fines for using electronic devices while driving?

What are the requirements for a public hearing before paving a Town highway?

Who sets work week schedule; the Town board or Highway Superintendent?

Who is responsible to remove a tree when it falls into a stream?

What are the critical dates for Town Highway Departments?

Can I change a two-way road to a one-way road?

What drug and alcohol tests are required for a CDL license?

What can a municipality do about someone dumping snow onto a highway?


Can Town Highway Superintendent plow a public official's driveway?

Where should Dead End Road signs be placed?

What is the width of road?

Where can I find a specification for a product or service?

Are there any requirements for how many and how bright yellow (amber) flashing lights are to be on work trucks?

What constitutes a Federal off-system bridge or road?

How does the new “Move Over” law apply to highway personnel?

Is it true that they are no longer making Marshall Mix?

What is the definition of a highway?

What is the status of the MUTCD compliance date changes proposed in the Summer 2011?

Are there any laws that address the placement of snow onto the sidewalks after the town has cleared them?


Does the law about cell phone usage and texting apply to government workers?

I heard many of the new requirements of the 2009 National MUTCD are being eliminated. Is this true?

What is the speed limit when there is no posting (no signs)?


What are the dollar amounts for when sealed bids are required?

Which National MUTCD should be followed in New York State?


Where can I acquire a copy of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law (V&T)?

Where can I get a copy of the 284 Agreement?

What is the Highway Right-of-Way?

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.