Section 7C. If the department determines that public necessity and convenience require that a limited access way shall be laid out, it shall lay out such way in the same manner as state highways. A limited access way is hereby defined to be a highway over which the easement of access in favor of abutting land exists only at such points and in such manner as is designated in the order of laying out. All the provisions of law in regard to the laying out, relocation, alteration or discontinuance of state highways and to damages therefor shall apply to limited access ways. If a limited access way is laid out in whole or in part in the location of an existing public way, the owners of land abutting upon such existing public way shall be entitled to recover damages under chapter seventy-nine for the taking of or injury to their easements of access to such public way. No highway, town way or private way shall be laid out by county commissioners, by the selectmen of a town or by the appropriate officer or board of a city which crosses, enters upon or unites with a limited access way, without the consent in writing of the department. In connection with the laying out or alteration of a limited access highway, the department may take in fee or otherwise, by purchase, gift, devise, or by eminent domain under chapter seventy-nine, land or rights in land adjoining the highway location whose right of access has been acquired and may provide for abutting motorist information service facilities and comfort stations.
The department is authorized to provide information services which may include indoor commercial and non-commercial advertising displays, directories, bulletin boards, wall maps, and the building wherein such services are provided shall be staffed with attendants for the convenience, necessity and safety of the traveling public on limited access highways. The building within which such information services are provided shall be operated, and maintained internally, by a person, firm, corporation, county, municipality or other state department or agency. In the event that an information center is to be operated and maintained by a person, firm, corporation, county, municipality or other state department or agency, the department, subject to rules, regulations and standards determined by the department and the department of economic development and with the approval of the Federal Highway Administration, is authorized to enter into a lease or memorandum of understanding for a term of years or on terms which the department deems appropriate regarding the operation and maintenance of such information centers and the operation and maintenance of adjacent sanitary facilities.
All income due the department from leases authorized by this section shall be paid to the state treasurer and credited to the highway fund.
The office of travel and tourism shall be designated by the department as the agent to participate with the department in the selection of lessees and to oversee the operation of information centers and control advertising in accordance with lease agreements, subject to approval by the Federal Highway Administration.