The first step in implementing a major road improvement is to develop engineering plans in sufficient detail to guide the new construction. The County Highway Department typically contracts with outside consulting, engineering firms with expertise in transportation improvements to develop these engineering plans.
Before improvements can begin, it must be determined how much more space is needed to construct the new roadway. The engineering firms hired to prepare the plans will draw up the improvements with an effort towards minimizing the impact on adjacent property owners. However, many times additional ground is needed to build the improved roadway, either on a permanent or temporary basis.
With the information provided by the consulting engineers, the county will go out and meet with each affected property owner on a particular project and make a monetary offer for the ground needed from them. In most cases, an equitable agreement is made between the county and the property owners. In cases where an agreement can't be reached, the courts are looked at to decide the fair amount of compensation.
Once all the needed property has been acquired and the engineering plans are completed, the county will put the road improvement project out for bid. Area contractors bid on the work, and following all necessary approvals, a contract is awarded to the low bidder. After that work gets underway.
Typically the contractor's work is delayed while the various utilities move their facilities, power poles, gas lines, phone lines, water lines, etc., out of the way of the new work. Once the utilities have been relocated, the contractor begins construction of the new roadway. The length of construction, as well as the impact on residents and motorists, varies depending on the scope of the project.