Wilmington Has Over 200 Unaccepted Ways: Find Out If Your Street Is One Of Them

Below is information recently published on the town’s Wilmington Department of Public Works website:

Unaccepted Ways

The Town currently has over two hundred (200) unaccepted ways comprising over thirty (30) miles of roadway; the condition of such roadways vary considerably from “good” condition requiring little or no improvements to “poor” condition, unimproved dirt/gravel roads. The reason for this is that many unaccepted roadways were constructed prior to any regulations being passed that require minimum roadway design and construction standards be met.  For example, some unaccepted roadways lack proper drainage or a suitable foundation, and were constructed with a varying degree of surface treatments (i.e. dirt, gravel, or partially paved surface).

The process to have a roadway accepted is a statutory process that follows Massachusetts General Law and requires Town Meeting Vote. It has been the Town’s longstanding practice to require streets to be improved to current Town roadway standards prior to acceptance. Since the Town has no legal interest in unaccepted roadways, state statutes prevent the Town from expending public funds for the construction, repair, or reconstruction of non-public unaccepted ways. Because of this, improvements of unaccepted ways are left to private property owners.

Please follow the GIS link below to see if your roadway is accepted as a public way:


Although the Town cannot expend public funds to make improvements to an unaccepted way (as noted above), public services are available for residents located along constructed unaccepted ways. These services include trash pick-up, emergency services, and snow plowing services. The following table is a list of public services provided for accepted and unaccepted roadways in Town:

Table of Roadway Services

The following presentation provides an overview of the process to have a roadway accepted, and provides other information regarding unaccepted roadways in Town:


For any questions or comments, please inquire with the Engineering Division at 978-658-4499.

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