What is a Right of Way?

A pipeline right-of-way is a piece of land with limited and specific uses that is conveyed by a right-of-way grant or easement by a current or past property owner to a pipeline company. The right-of-way in most cases is used to construct, maintain, operate, protect, inspect, maintain and/or replace one or more pipelines. The right-of-way grant (sometimes called an easement) is usually filed where deeds are filed in the county in which the pipeline is located. The right-of-way agreement (and/or easement) creates a permanent limited interest in the land. Rights-of-way vary in width; however, a right-of-way width of 50 feet is fairly common for Sunoco Pipeline L.P., though it can be greater depending on whether there is one pipeline or multiple pipelines within the right-of-way. 

The pipeline rights-of-way are often recognizable as corridors that are cleared of trees, buildings or other structures except for pipeline markers. Another thing you might see is fenced and secured areas with some above ground piping; these secured areas provide access to valves along the pipeline system. 

Rights-of-way must be kept free of buildings, trees, storage materials and other obstructions. Right-of-Way Clearing and tree trimming and removal are part of our routine maintenance, and are necessary to maintain the integrity of the pipeline and to facilitate ground and aerial inspection. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or shrubs within the right-of-way.  Also, do not dig, store or place anything on or near the right-of-way without first having our personnel mark the location of the pipeline, stake the right-of-way and explain our construction guidelines to you.

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Whether you are erecting a fence, doing landscaping or building a new home on or near a pipeline right-of-way, always call 811or your local State One-Call System at least two full business days (some states require three days notice - check with your local state one call) in advance of your work. When a call is made, one of our trained technicians will mark the location of the pipeline – there is no cost to you for this service.