A road or right-of-way vacation is governed by R.C.W. 36.87. It is a process where land owners can have the public's interest in roads or right-of-ways removed.
Although the right of way may have been vacated, the rights and interests of private individuals and utility companies may still encumber the road or right-of-way. These private individuals typically live about the road or right- of-way that is vacated, and historically have used these roads for access, or own land in the same plat.
Similarly utility easements may also still encumber the areas vacated. What is given up in the vacation process is only the right of the general public to use the vacated road or right-of-way.