County-Maintained Mileage System

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Nevada, by adoption of a formal resolution, may accept roads into the "county-maintained mileage system" (see, Streets and Highways Code section 941). Such roads must meet current county road standards before they are accepted. For most residential roads, this would be a paved 18-foot wide road with 2-foot wide shoulders. Such roads normally will have a revenue source sufficient to ensure adequate funding for routine road maintenance and long term asphalt rehabilitation. Only roads that are very important for public circulation are possible candidates for acceptance. Local roads with small traffic volume are normally not candidates for acceptance, unless they are planned, built, and funded as part of a newly formed subdivision.

Background Information

Public roads are not always maintained. The public may have acquired historic or dedicated rights-of-way for which maintenance responsibility has not been assumed or accepted by any public entity. Examples would be old wagon roads, pioneer trails, superseded state highways, and "prescriptive rights" (continuous and notorious public use).

Most public roads are created during the land division process. County approval may require a landowner's "offer of dedication" to the County for public use and necessity. An offer of dedication is usually recorded with the County Recorder. It cannot be withdrawn, and remains open indefinitely until accepted or vacated by the County, or until extinguished by a court in a "quiet title" action after 25 years.


Under state law, public road rights-of-way must be open to the public, without gates or other physical impediments or obstacles to circulation. Therefore, if the County accepts an offer of dedication for a road segment, then, as to that segment, any member of the public may assert in court the public's right to have any gate or obstacle removed. The County is under a legal obligation to remove a gate or obstacle only if the County is expending public funds on the maintenance of the road segment.

Current Policy

The current policy of the County Board of Supervisors is to promote effective maintenance of all roads. For public roads, especially major ones, effective public maintenance is feasible only within budgetary constraints. Adequate funding becomes the main issue. Accordingly, when there is inadequate funding for local roads with limited public use, the County may even consider vacating (abandoning) any open offer of dedication or any existing public right-of-way, (except for retention of an emergency access easement for fire safety). The vacation of the public right-of-way may facilitate more effective private maintenance because those who bear the cost of maintenance receive the benefit of controlling use of the road. Based upon a show of interest in vacating a public right-of-way, the County may initiate proceedings under Streets and Highways Code section 8300 et seq. Such proceedings trigger public notice and a public hearing in order to elicit information from residents and users about the use and maintenance of the road.