Acquisition of land for parks, historic sites, etc., to replace land required for federal highways
Section 7M. Whenever a federal-aid highway program or project requires the use of any land which is part of a public park, recreation area or wildlife and waterfowl refuge of national, state or local significance as determined by the federal, state or local officials having jurisdiction thereof, or any land which is part of an historic site of national, state or local significance, as so determined by such officials, and there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of such land, the department, in order to minimize harm to such park, recreational area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge or historic site, may acquire by eminent domain under chapter seventy-nine, purchase or otherwise on behalf of the commonwealth or on behalf of any department, public body, agency or instrumentality of the commonwealth or on behalf of any political subdivision thereof, land to replace that which was required for use in the highway program. The department shall convey such replacement land or transfer the custody, care and control of such replacement land to the owner of the public park, recreational area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge or historic site required for highway use, including private owners or any department, public body, agency of the commonwealth or to any political subdivision thereof and such conveyance or transfer may be partially or entirely in lieu of damages for the land acquired from such owners; provided, however, that in the case of private owners such conveyance may be made only with the consent of such owner. The words “historic site” as used in this section shall include archeological sites as defined and regulated by sections twenty-six A to twenty-seven C of chapter nine.