Department of Transportation

Surplus Property

In acquiring land for public projects, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) sometimes accrues land that may be surplus to the current project. Upon review to determine if there is any current or future use, the surplus property may later be disposed of as excess property. Persons interested in purchase or lease of a specific property may submit an Excess Land Request Form (pdf)

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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about land for sale or lease.

How does NJDOT land or property become surplus?
NJDOT-owned property may be surplus to the project it was bought for or become surplus due to a road realignment. Because potential uses such as storm water management basins, a need for mitigation land and use by a future road project are always present concerns, no surplus land is ever considered excess (available for sale) until a thorough review of potential need is undertaken and the surplus land is declared to be excess by the Commissioner of Transportation.
If a property cannot be declared excess and sold, can I lease it?
If land is identified as surplus, but needed in the future, it may be possible to lease on a short term lease, generally until the future need occurs. Leasing can only occur if the use does not create a safety hazard.
Are large tracts of surplus land available?
Rarely. Most excess land declared as surplus property consists of small parcels. Occasionally NJDOT accrues large tracts of excess land but these are often landlocked.
Does the NJDOT have a list of land available for sale or lease?
No. The NJDOT does not currently have a list of all the land and property owned that may be available for sale or lease. Because other public uses may come up in the future, each excess land request is evaluated to determine if there is a current or potential future need for this land. Even properties that were declared excess in the past but not sold are reevaluated after a year and may not be considered as excess once reviewed again.
How do I find NJDOT maps?
NJDOT maps are filed at the County Recording Office, but can also be found at the Engineering Documents Unit. Maps in the EDU are filed under the original Highway Routes they were acquired under. For this reason, the EDU needs to know the milepost so that they can cross reference earlier route designations. To request NJDOT plans, you will need to identify the location using the Straight Line Diagram at the following link:

Select the State Highway number you are looking for. Once at the proper route, you can use the search features to find a cross street. Use the Primary Direction Milepost numbers to identify the particular area you are interested in. The more precise you can estimate the upper and lower milepost(s) you need, the lower the reproduction cost and the faster the response time. Once you have the milepost(s), you may complete the Map Request form and submit it by email it to or by Fax to: (609) 530-6626.

For property information, the right of way plans will be of most help. The Entire Tract Map (ETM) is a large scale overview map while the General Property Parcel Map (GPPM) is a closer view of the acquired properties. Typically, the ETM is 1”=100’ or 200’ vs. 1”=30’ typical for the GPPM. Note that the State Project Number on the map request forms is for internal NJDOT requests and does not apply to outside requests.

You will be contacted to let you know what was found and how much the plan sheet reproductions will cost. Please note that phone inquiries for plans cannot be processed.
How much does it cost to purchase or lease surplus property?
The purchase price or monthly lease rate is the fair market value. The fair market value may be based on the enhancement value that it contributes to the adjoining owner. Public use land acquired by a municipality or county may be sold at acquisition price, where eligible.
How can I request information about the availability of NJDOT owned land that I think could be declared surplus?
Download and complete our Excess Land Request Form (pdf) and provide the information requested. Municipalities often merges NJDOT land into a right of way corridor that does not have block and lot designation. In that case the requestor should reference the adjoining property block and lot.
Is an attorney needed to process a request?
No. The NJDOT does not require the requestor to have an attorney to inquire about or to complete a sale or lease.
How long does it take for a request to be reviewed and concluded?
Assuming the requested property can be sold or leased, it generally takes up to one year from the time the request is received to the time the land is actually conveyed. In those instances where a property must be retained a decision is available sooner.
How does the Department determine whether or not land owned by the NJDOT can be declared surplus property?
Once the Department receives a request, the following actions will occur:
  • The Excess Land Request Form (pdf) is reviewed for required information.
  • NJDOT verifies that there is no active project at this location.
  • NJDOT verifies that it owns the land requested.
  • A letter is sent to the requestor with a copy of the relevant General Property Parcel Map with a request to confirm that the areas marked by NJDOT match what the requestor is interested in buying/leasing.
  • Once the requestor confirms the area in question, maps and related information will be circulated throughout the Department to determine if the land requested can be made available for sale or lease.
  • If the requested land may be needed for current or future transportation needs, it will not be made available and the requestor will be notified.
  • If the requested land is available for sale or lease, NJDOT must contact the municipality and the county where the requested property is located to determine if either entity is interested in acquiring the property for public use. Under certain circumstances, other public entities may also be offered the property.
  • If there is no other public use, and NJDOT acquired the requested land less than 10 years ago, the previous owner will be contacted and provided an opportunity to repurchase the property at its current fair market value.
  • If the property is still available at this point, a determination is made as to whether the property can be conveyed through a direct purchase to the requestor, or must be auctioned off.
  • If the property can be sold or leased, the State House Commission must approve the sale or lease of state-owned property by private direct sale or auction, and under some circumstances approve the sale for public use.
How does the Department determine whether a property is sold by Direct Sale or through an Auction?
After receiving approval from the State House Commission for sale or lease, the NJDOT offers excess parcels approved for sale through a Direct Sale to the requestor if there are no other interested purchasers and the property cannot be developed independently, or through an Auction if there is more than one potential purchaser or the property can be developed independently.
How does Auction process work?
Auctions may are held on an as needed basis through an online internet auction.  The current auction provider is

Prior to any auction, the requested property will be posted, advertisements will be taken out in two local newspapers and a copy of the notification posted with the town clerk in the municipality where the requested property is located. The postings will provide an Internet link to the auction page.

The minimum bid at a public auction is based on NJDOT’s estimated market value of the property.  The price for a direct sale is also based upon the estimated value of the property, in this case, what it adds to the adjoining property, not what it is worth on its own.

Last updated date: March 26, 2020 10:25 AM