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Colorado State Utility-Special Use Permit (3-CO-e)

Utility owners must obtain a State Utility-Special Use Permit (permit) from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) “prior to performing any utility accommodation work, including the initial installation, relocation, maintenance activities not covered under existing permit, or facilities removal.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.1.1, State Utility Code. According to the State Utility Code, "utility" means "any privately, publicly or cooperatively owned line, facility, or system for producing, transmitting, or distributing...power, electricity, light, heat,...steam,...which directly or indirectly serves the public." 2 CCR 601-18 §1.4.2.112, State Utility Code.


The CDOT has the responsibility and authority under CRS 43-1-110 et seq., Powers and Duties of the Department of Transportation and CRS 43-2-102, Department of Transportation Maintain Highway System for the design, construction, improvement, maintenance and management of the State highway system and State highway right-of-ways. CDOT has designated permitting authority to the Traffic and Safety Branch of the CDOT. The Traffic and Safety Branch of the CDOT regulates state utility accommodations in State highway right-of-ways pursuant 2 CCR 601-18, State Utility Code, CRS 43-1-110 et seq., Powers and Duties of the Department of Transportation, CRS 43-2-102, Department of Transportation Maintain Highway System, and CRS 43-2-106(8)(k), Abandoned State Highways.


State Utility-Special Use Permit Process

3-CO-e.1 – Contact Local CDOT Regional Permit Coordinator for Application Information

The developer should contact the local Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for Utility/Special Use Permit information. The CDOT region offices are located in Aurora, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction, Greeley, and Pueblo. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.1.1, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.2 — Utility-Special Use Permit Application

An applicant (developer) must submit a complete Utility/Special Use Permit Application (application) for a Utility/Special Use Permit (permit) to the appropriate Region Utility Permit Office. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.2.1, State Utility Code. The application must “include a complete description of the purpose, nature and specific location of planned work, and the anticipated start and completion dates for that work.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.2.2, State Utility Code. The application must also include:

  • Scope of the proposed activities to be covered by the permit, including the type and size of the utility facility;
  • Proposed utility plans;
  • Traffic control plans; and
  • Methods used to perform the work.

2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.2.2, State Utility Code.

In addition, the developer must submit additional information, if requested by the CDOT in conjunction with a permit application, including but not limited to:

  • Highway and utility plan and profile information
  • Utility facility design;
  • Existing and/or proposed locations of other facilities within the affected area;
  • Evidence of adequate; and
  • Current liability insurance coverage of the proposed work, and any available Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates for all proposed work.

2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.2.4, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.3 and 3-CO-e.4 — Review Application Materials for Completeness

The CDOT reviews the application materials for administrative and technical completeness. The CDOT “may refuse to accept or consider any incomplete application that lacks necessary information or detail.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.2.4, State Utility Code. For any applications involving extraordinary circumstances, the CDOT will negotiate additional reasonable time, as necessary, to completely review and act on an application. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.2, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.5 — Evaluate and Act on Application

When a completed application is received, CDOT will promptly evaluate and act on the application in accordance with the Code.

3-CO-e.6 - Is the Application Approved?

The CDOT may deny a permit if the requested utility accommodation “does not comply with the State Utility Code or applicable law, or otherwise endangers the public health, safety and/or welfare.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.6.1, State Utility Code. If the CDOT denies the permit requested by the application, the CDOT must provide a copy of the permit application marked “Denied,” together with a written explanation of the grounds for the denial.. Retracted applications, however, are not permit denials. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.3, State Utility Code.

If CDOT preliminarily approves the permit requested by the application, it will “prepare and transmit to the applicant (developer) for signature a written permit containing standard provisions and applicable special provisions and other terms and conditions.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.4, State Utility Code. . The developer must sign and return the permit to the CDOT in a timely manner. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.4, State Utility Code. The date the CDOT signs the permit is the effective date of the permit. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.6, State Utility Code.

Note: The CDOT may issue a “conditional” permit that is subject to further resolution of such matters as “work schedule, construction methods or other permit requirements, before the affected work may proceed.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.5, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.8 — Return Permit to CDOT for Signature

If the permittee (developer) does not sign the permit, or does not agree to all the terms and conditions of the permit, or does not return the signed permit within (sixty) 60 days, then the CDOT will have no obligation to sign the permit or to take further action on the permit. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.3.7, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.9 — Does the Developer Appeal the Decision?

Utility owners or third party utility representatives may formally appeal a denied permit application. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2, State Utility Code. Note, the “utility owner may also request the CDOT reconsider, on an informal basis, any objections to or requested revisions to a permit decision. If requested, the CDOT may informally reconsider its action and may revise the permit accordingly, issue a new permit or require an applicant (developer) to submit a new application for consideration.” 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.1, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.10 — Request for Administrative Hearing

The developer must submit a Request for Administrative Hearing to the Chief Engineer of the CDOT in order to begin the appeals process. The developer must submit the Request for Administrative Hearing within sixty (60) days of transmittal of notice of denial or transmittal of the permit for signature. The request must include the reasons for the appeal and may include changes, revisions, or conditions that would be acceptable to the utility owner. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2.1, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.11 — Conduct Hearing on Decision

The CDOT must conduct a hearing within ninety (90) days of the receipt of the appeal. The CDOT appoints a Board consisting of three or more persons to preside over the hearing, at least one of which will have experience with utility issues within the state highway right-of-way. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2.2, State Utility Code. The CDOT must conduct the hearing in accordance with CRS 24-4-105 et seq., Hearings and Determinations and Colorado Code of Regulations 2 CCR 601-18, State Utility Accommodation Code.

3-CO-e.12 — Provide Recommendation for Application

The Board must make a recommendation to the Chief Engineer of the CDOT within ten (10) days of the hearing. The recommendation must be in writing and contain a Statement of Findings and Conclusions upon all the material issues of fact, law or discretion presented by the record and must enter an appropriate order sanctioning or denying relief. The recommendation is not binding on CDOT. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2.7, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.13 — Review Recommendation and Application Documents

The CDOT must review the recommendation of the Board to determine whether to approve the application on appeal. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2.7, State Utility Code.

3-CO-e.14 — Does CDOT Approve the Application on Appeal?

Following review of the recommendation and other available evidence, the CDOT will approve or deny the application on appeal. 2 CCR 601-18 §2.2.7.2.7, State Utility Code. If the CDOT approves the application on appeal, see 3-CO-e.6 and 3-CO-e.7 for more information.

3-CO-e.15 to 3-CO-e.16 – State Utility or Special Use Permit

For further information on the State Utility -Special Use Permit see 3-CO-e.7.




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Edit Colorado Department of Transportation
Regional Contacts for State Utility and Special Use Program
303-757-9273

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