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New freeway project raises eminent domain issues

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2023 | Eminent Domain

The issue of eminent domain has historically been a leading cause of controversy in California. This is a principle that involves the state or federal government taking ownership of privately owned land. The land seized must be intended for public use. In addition, the owner must be compensated by the government at a fair market value.

New lane expansion for Highway 91

Eminent domain issues could soon be at the forefront of a new highway project. The eastbound Highway 91 runs along the border of Orange and Riverside counties. Plans have been solicited for a new design feature that will expand this highway by an additional lane. This would be placed between state Route 241 in Anaheim Hills and the Corona Expressway.

There are currently a total of seven lanes available on the 91 eastbound highway. These occur between the 241 and 71. However, two of those are toll lanes. The idea is to add another free lane in order to accommodate a higher volume of traffic. This is crucial since this highway has been experiencing a historic level of use in recent years.

Does this project invite eminent domain debate?

Public domain issues have been the source of some of the fiercest and longest running legal battles in California. the construction of roads has been the leading cause of putting this principle into action. The government can also invoke it for any number of reasons, such as building schools, fire stations, or libraries.

The idea promoted by the government is that the building of these various structures is intended to provide for the common good. However, they have often been fought by private owners who desire to keep their land and property. The debate between individual rights and the public welfare is one that continues to boil.