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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

South Dakota State Highway Utility Permit (3-SD-e)

In South Dakota, a bulk transmission developer must obtain a Utility Permit from the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) to install, relocate, or expand utility facilities on or near an interstate or non-interstate highway right-of-way. 70:04 S.D. §§ 05-05.01.


State Highway Utility Permit Process

3-SD-e.1 – Application for Utility Permit

Any private or public utility must obtain a Utility Permit from the SDDOT to install, relocate, and expand utility facilities on an interstate or non-interstate highway right-of-way. 70:04 S.D §§ 05-05.01. A “utility” is “any person engaged in and controlling the generation or transmission of electric energy and gas or liquid transmission facilities.” 49-41B S.D. § 2(12).

A developer must submit a complete Application for Utility Permit to the applicable SDDOT Area Engineer. The Application for Utility Permit must also include attachments showing details of the proposed project. The drawing should include dimensions and a detailed plan or sketch showing the physical placement of the utility installation in relation to the highway. This includes section lines and approaches that will be crossed, legal description on the drawing, and bridges or any other permanent features. Drawings or sketches should show the physical placement of the utility in relation to the highway. If the proposed project is complex, the drawing should also show the installation’s relation to traffic patterns, a detailed traffic control plan, and proposed signage and delineation layout. South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit; 70:04 S.D § 05:14. In addition, the attachments must display the name of the company, a north arrow, street number, and total number of sheets submitted. The developer must sign and submit one copy of the request and one copy of the attachment to the SDDOT Area Engineer for processing. South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit; 70:04 S.D § 05:14.

Note: A developer may not install a utility facility on top of drainage pipes. South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit.


3-SD-e.2 to 3-SD-e.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The SDDOT Area Engineer reviews the application materials for administrative and technical completeness. 70:04 S.D § 05:15; South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit. SDDOT must also obtain city recommendation and SDDOT Bridge/Road Design approval when applicable. South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit.


3-SD-e.4 to 3-SD-e.5 – Does the Area Engineer Approve the Application?

If the Area Engineer approves the application request and the project is located within an interstate right-of-way, the Area Engineer will forward the application to the applicable Region Engineer. The Region Engineer will then review the application.

If the Area Engineer does not approve the application, they must return the application to the developer with a written explanation of the denial.

South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit.


3-SD-e.6 – Is the Project Located Within An Interstate Right-of-Way?

Installations within an interstate right-of-way are generally prohibited. However, the SDDOT may approve utility attachments to structures in unique and unusual circumstances or if the developer is a governmental entity. Access from the main roadway of the interstate highway is not permitted for construction or maintenance of utility facilities except that:

  1. Motor vehicles and equipment may use frontage roads and the unsurfaced portions of the right-of-way to construct and maintain utility facilities provided they obtain ingress and egress from other than the main roadway of the interstate highway;
  2. In time of disaster or emergency, where ingress or egress as described in subdivision (1) of this section is temporarily impossible, the surfaced area of the right-of-way may be used to approach the distressed facilities and the surfaced shoulder may be used for temporary parking, provided the region engineer receives prior notification and provisions for the safety of the general traveling public are made;
  3. Where damaged utility lines or facilities are a danger to the life or property of the general traveling public, access to them may be had by the most expeditious route. The repair must be done in a manner that will provide the traveling public with maximum possible safety. The utility shall give notice of the situation to the highway patrol and the region engineer as soon as possible under the circumstances.


3-SD-e.7 to 3-SD-e.10 – Review Application Materials

The SDDOT Region Engineer will approve or deny the Application for Utility Permit, usually within two weeks. If the application is approved, the Region Engineer will forward the application and all attachments to the Permit Manager at the SDDOT Office of Right-of Way for review. South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit. The Permit Manager will review the Utility Permit application materials.


3-SD-e.11 to 3-SD-e.13 – Does the Permit Manager Approve the Application?

If the Permit Manager approves the application, SDDOT issues the Utility Permit and sends copies of the permit and any attachments to the following:

  • Area Engineer – 2 copies;
  • Developer – 1 copy;
  • Record Center – original.

If the Permit Manager denies the application, they must return the application to the developer with a written explanation, as well as send a copy of the application to the Area Engineer.

South Dakota Department of Transportation – Application for Utility Permit.


3-SD-e.14 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)




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