In the past year, the Court of Appeals decided an inverse condemnation case based on a reconfigured road. These are of continuing interest to me because, years ago, I had one of these cases myself.
The recent case was Green River Motel v. State (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) (pdf). The State reconfigured the US 231/I-64 interchange, the consequence being that where once the Motel 6 on Green River’s property was convenient to the Intersection, now motorists had to drive an additional 1.6 miles from one direction and 4.6 from another direction to get to the property from the Interstate.
Inverse condemnation means, roughly, “taking” of the property not directly by the State but indirectly through other actions that diminish the value of the property. It’s the government’s road, so, by reconfiguring it, they aren’t doing anything directly to the owner’s property; but by limiting access to that road, they are affecting how your own property is used.
Unfortunately for the property owner, the hurdle for showing a taking through reconfigured roads is high. And it remains high after the Green River decision. “While the right of ingress and egress is a property right in Indiana, only an elimination of ingress and egress rights constitutes a compensable taking; the mere reduction in or redirection of traffic flow to a commercial property is not a compensable taking of the property right.” If the State had cut off road access entirely, there would have been a taking. But, they could still get off the property – it just took a lot longer to get to the Interstate.
This sucks for the particular property owner, but you can see why this is necessary. With all roads being interconnected, litigation would be never-ending for any government entity who ever reconfigured a road.