(1) Whenever in the location, relocation, construction or betterment of any highway within the state, it is deemed necessary to locate, relocate or construct the highway, or any part thereof, upon the right of way of any railroad company, the state, through the Department of Transportation, may negotiate and agree with the railroad company for the right to use or occupy the right of way, or so much thereof as is necessary for highway purposes.
(2) In case no satisfactory agreement can be effected, then the state, through the department, may acquire the right of way by exercise of the power of eminent domain, and for that purpose may commence and prosecute condemnation proceedings to acquire the right to the use and occupancy of sufficient of the railroad right of way for highway purposes.
(3) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section authorizes the use or occupancy of the railroad right of way which would interfere with the operation of the railroad or its necessary appurtenances, taking into consideration the use of the railroad right of way by the company for yards, terminals, station grounds and necessary additional trackage, or which would jeopardize the safety of the public.
(4) In the event that the right of way or property of any railroad company in the state required or needed for state highway location, relocation, construction or betterment, and any portion of the property or right of way is likewise needed and required by the railroad company for the proper operation of its trains and the usual and ordinary conduct of its business, but which property or land the railroad company is willing to deed to the state for highway purposes in exchange for a like amount of land within a reasonable distance, the state, through the department, may acquire by purchase, agreement or by exercise of the power of eminent domain, an equal amount of land or property within a reasonable distance. After having acquired such land or property, the state, through the department, may convey the same to the railroad company in exchange for the land or property needed and required from the railroad company for highway purposes. The difference in the value of the respective parcels of land shall be considered by the department in making the exchange. [Amended by 1965 c.383 §1; 1999 c.59 §100]