The Roads Act 4 William IV No.11 1833 was the first statute to authorise the Government to make, alter and improve roads in the Colony through private freeholds. The Act stated that the road was to be surveyed or delineated on a plan. When opened by proclamation the road was to be maintained at the expense of the local parish. These were known as "confirmed roads". They were not established as public roads unless they were proclaimed to be open for public use and if no compensation was paid, until the road was in fact used by the public.
The public use was limited to the surface, subsoil and headroom necessary to accommodate and support the kind of traffic contemplated by the dedication.
Act 4 also contained power to divert and alter the course of public ways already made and when the new road was completed it would be in place of the old road. See also Closure of an Act 4 William IV Road.
Quarter Sessions roads
Quarter Sessions roads, usually 12 feet (3.655 metres) or 20 feet (6.095 metres) wide, were created by decisions of the Court of Quarter Sessions under the provisions of Act 4 William IV No.11 1883. These provisions were continued in the Public Roads Act 1897 and Public Roads Act 1902. As far as is known no applications have been made since 1910.
The Court could not grant access to more than 6.095 metres in width after which the road was marked out in accordance with the Courts direction. The road was for private access similar to a right of way and many developed public status through use and by absorption into roads of greater width. There was no divesting in fee except for the surface right only.
Provision for the opening of a Quarter Sessions road ceased on 18 October 1968. The Roads Act 1993 provides that any road that was a Quarter Sessions road immediately before 1 July 1993 is now dedicated as public road. When closed, these roads do not vest in the adjoining owner.