An Act Concerning Railroads.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met, That all railroads in this State crossing any turnpike, public road, or private roadway, shall be so constructed as not to impede or obstruct the usual and necessary travel over said roads, and very railroad company, now or hereafter to be incorporated in travel. this State, shall make and maintain, in all such cases, either bridges over the railroad, passages under the same, or crossings thereof at grade, according as the circumstances of the case and the public safety may require. In case of bridge-crossings over a railroad, they shall be well constructed, not less than sixteen, feet in clear width for travel, with causeways or approaches on each side of not less width than the bridge, protected by good and sufficient railings or guards, and all grade-crossings shall be well planked or macadamized between the rails, not less than sixteen feet in width, and no causeways or approaches to either bridges or grade-crossings shall be of a heavier grade than five degrees, protected as aforesaid.
SECTION 2. Be it further enacted, That any railroad company now existing or hereafter to be incorporated in this State, may petition for a change in the location of any public or private road crossed by or running in near proximity to the line of their railroad, and said petition shall be preferred as set forth in Section 4 of Chapter 60 of the Revised Code, excepting that the petition shall be sufficient if signed by the president of such company, attested by the corporate seal thereof, whereupon the proper court shall have jurisdiction in the premises, and all the proceedings shall be in accordance with the provisions of said Chapter60, excepting, and it is hereby provided that the said railroad company shall pay the expenses, costs, and damages accruing upon the changing of said road, and provided further, that any such railroad company by agreement with the land-holders interested, and the approval of the road commissioners of the hundred wherein the same is located, may, without proceedings had as aforesaid, change, at the expense of such company, any public or private road as aforesaid whenever a change, will add to the safety of public travel, said change to be made subject to the approval of the road commissioners of the hundred wherein the same is located, to be certified in writing and appended to a draft thereof, which said draft and certification returned to and recorded by the clerk of the peace of the county wherein the same is located shall, to all intents and purposes, confirm the change.
SECTION 3. Be it further enacted, That when the construction of any railroad in this State shall require the temporary obstruction of any public road, private road, or turnpike, the said rail-road company shall cause to be made, wherever practicable, a temporary side-road for the public to pass and repass upon, and for said purpose shall have power to enter upon any adjacent lands, provided that before entering thereupon such company shall pay or secure to be paid unto the proper parties all damages, if any, occasioned by the making of said temporary road, to be determined by agreement with the parties, or by the award of five disinterested citizens of the county to be appointed by any justice of the peace not residing in the hundred or hundreds where said road is to be made as referees, the expense of said proceedings to be paid by the party applying therefor. The said justice of the peace shall make such appointment at the request of the president of such company, or the other parties interested, such request to be made in writing, accompanied with an affidavit of the party to the effect that written notice has been given to the adverse party of the time and place of the preferring of said request at least five days previous to said time.
SECTION 4. Be it further enacted, That if any such railroad company shall, at any time, obstruct any public or private road, or shall fail to comply with the provisions of this act in respect to bridges, causeways, or crossings, it shall be the duty of the road commissioners or overseers of the hundred wherein said obstruction or deficiency exists to notify the president or other executive officer of said company, in writing, stating the nature of the obstruction or deficiency; and if said company do not, within ten days thereafter, comply with the provisions of this act, it shall be the duty of the said road commissioners or overseers to present to any justice of the peace residing in the same hundred with said road commissioners a certificate, under their hands, certifying to the facts of the case, whereupon it shall be the duty of said justice to name for referees five disinterested citizens of said county, not residing in the hundred wherein their services are required, to go upon and inspect the deficiencies complained of, and if they approve, to order the said road commissioners or overseers to proceed to remove said obstruction, or correct said deficiency, and to keep a correct account of the costs and expenses attending the same. The said bill of costs and expenses, upon the approval thereof by the said referees, duly certified, thereupon may be collected by the said road commissioners or overseers off of the said railroad company, or off of the contractor of the section wherein an obstruction, created during the building of new work, may exist, by distraint and sale of any property belonging to said railroad company or said contractor, the proceedings to be the same as in distraint for the collection of taxes.
SECTION 5. Be it further enacted, That the referees appointed to in any case under this act shall be duly qualified, by oath or by affirmation, in the same manner as commissioners for the laying out of public roads, and shall all be together upon the inspection of the premises, after which the acts of a majority shall be valid ; said referees shall, in all cases, proceed with due dispatch, so that public inconvenience may be removed without unnecessary delay: Provided, that the necessary obstruction of a road during the time actually needed for the erection of bridges, crossings, or other works, shall not be construed to come under the provisions of this act when a good and sufficient temporary road is provided, as contemplated in Section 3 of this act.
Passed at , Dover, April 7, 1869.