The creation of highways is a function of the government that stems from its power of eminent domain—the authority to take private property for public use. The legislature makes the determination needed for public use and convenience and provides for establishment of highways by local boards or courts. In deciding whether the need for a highway exists, factors for consideration include topography, soil character, population, location, condition, convenience of highways already established or proposed, and the probable extent of use.
In the absence of statutory authorization, a highway cannot be constructed through lands of the state, or property that has already been designated for public use, such as a park. Additionally, some state laws proscribe the creation of highways through residences, buildings used for trade, gardens, or orchards.
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