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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

Individuals building speed bumps

  • 29 Sep 2011 9:38 AM
    Message # 711598
    Deleted user
    Our road is a dead end road.  The first property owner gets very upset when anyone goes by at a speed greater than 5 - 10 mph.  Numerous times her husband has stopped and scolded people, even when we are certain they were only going 15 mph, for going "100 mph".  Eventually he created speed bumps which made several residents angry.  We tried to get him to agree to putting up a 10 mph speed limit sign so that visitors would know what their expectations are, but he would have none of it.  "I want people to come to a stop here" he said.  He claimed that his lawyer told him he has the right to put up the speed bumps, and, in fact, that he could block the road if he wanted to, because it crosses their land.  All the other property owners have the right of way in their deeds, so we don't believe he has the right to block the road.  Our question is, does he have the right to put up any kind of obstruction, including speed bumps?
  • 21 Apr 2012 11:55 PM
    Reply # 896963 on 711598
    Deleted user
    We have not formed an association yet, but the road needed grading badly so one resident got an estimate and asked everyone for donations, and it got graded.  This of course wiped out the speed bumps.  The guy that had erected them was apparently on vacation when the road was graded, and when he returned he was apparently angry and dug a 5-8" deep trench across the road, piling the dirt on one side of it.  So now we have a speed bump followed immediately by a trench.  He has stated in the past that his lawyer told him he can put up any kind of obstruction he wants to, including a gate etc. to completely block the road.  Can anyone confirm that?  If we form a statutory road association, can we charge him with damaging the road?  PLEASE SOMEONE WEIGH IN ON THIS.
  • 22 Apr 2012 12:57 AM
    Reply # 897001 on 711598
    Deleted user
    Well.  If the other property owners have a right-of-way across speed-bump-guy's property, he is not permitted to obstruct the right-of-way with a gate, no matter what his lawyer says.  Unfortunately, the only way that this can be enforced is by going to court.

    Speed bumps are probably not exactly obstructions, though. I'm not sure he can be prevented from putting in speed bumps which don't obstruct the right-of-way.  On the other hand, he can't prevent others from removing them.

    Forming a statutory road association might help, if the speed-bump-guy decides to respect the authority of the association.  If he doesn't, I really don't know if the association has the exclusive legal right to maintain the road.  I think it might, given that the statute states, in 23 MRSA 3102:

    The commissioner or board chosen under section 3101, with respect to the private road, private way or bridge, has the powers of a road commissioner. 

    That is, the association's road commission has the same powers as a municipal road commissioner, whose powers are defined in 23 MRSA 2701:

    The road commissioner, under the direction of a majority of the selectmen, shall have charge of the repairs of all highways and bridges within the towns and shall have authority to employ the necessary personnel and equipment and purchase material for the repair of highways and bridges. 

    So, the association might assert to speed-bump-guy that it has sole authority to maintain the road, and is willing to go to court to enforce it.  Whether a court would agree, I do not know.

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