Any unauthorized obstruction that hinders the use of a public highway, such as a fence, gate, or ditch, is illegal and constitutes a NUISANCE. Officials may, however, lawfully obstruct highways temporarily under their jurisdictions for a reasonable period to make necessary repairs or improvements. Anyone who causes or allows an obstruction to be placed on a public highway is liable and may be enjoined to compel its removal.
In addition, the authorities or private individuals who have sustained special damages—financial or other losses that differ from those incurred by the public—may sue for damages against one who obstructs a highway. What constitutes special damages is dependent upon the facts of each case. Special injury might exist where the obstruction blocks access to the plaintiff's property. In a number of jurisdictions the obstruction of highways is a criminal offense.
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