< RAPID‎ | Roadmap
Jump to: navigation, search


Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Washington State Highway Encroachment Permits (3-WA-c)

This flowchart illustrates the process of obtaining a Transmission Line Right-of-Way in Washington State. Washington uses the terms "utility permit" and "utility franchise" to describe the process for obtaining a Transmission Line Right of Way. A utility permit or franchise is required for occupancy of a highway right of way by facilities, including private lines. WAC 468-34-160. The process is governed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Depending on the access required, a developer may need to obtain either a permit or franchise from the WSDOT. A franchise is necessary for longitudinal occupancy of highway rights-of-way. A permit is necessary for any occupancy of the highway rights of way other than by franchise. WAC 468-34-110(16)&(17).

State Highway Encroachment Permits Process

3-WA-c.1 – Application for a Transmission Line Right-of-Way

The developer must submit an application for a right of way to the WSDOT. The application must conform with the following requirements:

  • Applications must be submitted on the necessary forms;
  • Applications must include the utility facility description plus additional plans and data for CAT 1 and CAT 2 installations;
  • Applications must indicate compliance with the standards set forth in the Policy on Accommodation of Utilities on Highway Rights of Way; and
  • Application must discuss alternate possibilities, especially when a location on or across a limited access facility is considered necessary. WAC 468-34-010.

The developer must pay reasonable cost to the WSDOT for investigating, handling and granting the franchise or permit, including but not limited to fees of hearing officers and reporters, including basic overhead charges upon the application and for providing an inspector during construction and/or maintenance of the utility facility. WAC 468-34-020.

3-WA-c.2 – Provide Notice of Application

The WSDOT must give notice at the expense of the applicant in the county or counties in which any portion of the highway where the right-of-way applied for is located, by publishing a notice once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. WAC 468-34-050. The notice must state the name of the applicant and a description of the state highway or part thereof over which the applicant proposes to extend the right of way.

3-WA-c.3 to 3-WA-c.4 – Does WSDOT Determine that a Hearing on the Application is Necessary?

The WSDOT will determine whether a public hearing on the application is necessary.

If the WSDOT determines that a hearing on the application is necessary, then they must provide public notice as outlined in WAC 468-34-050. Public notice must be given at the developer’s expense in the county or counties in which any portion of the highway where the franchise applied for is located, by publishing notice once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. The notice must state the name of the developer and a description of the state highway or part thereof over which the developer proposes to extend the franchise.

3-WA-c.5 – Conduct Hearing on Need for Right of Way

After filing an application for a Transmission Line Right of Way, the WSDOT must determine whether the work necessary for the franchise may:

  • During construction, significantly disrupt the flow of traffic or use of driveways or other facilities within the right of way; or
  • During or following construction, cause a significant and adverse effect on the surrounding environment, in order to determine whether a hearing or hearing opportunity is required.

A hearing or hearing opportunity on the application may be necessary if the WSDOT determines it is in the public interest. The WSDOT will normally require a hearing or hearing opportunity for a right of way which involves any of the following:

  • Overhead transmission lines in excess of 35 kV;
  • Facilities involving the installation of pipe larger than eighteen inches nominal diameter;
  • Conduits requiring an excavation wider than three feet;
  • Pipelines carrying transmittants which are flammable, corrosive, expansive, energized or unstable and are larger than four inches nominal diameter;
  • Pressurized carrier pipes larger than twelve inches nominal diameter;
  • Underground installations of any size that require excavation through landscaped areas which are authorized by permit and which are maintained by owners of abutting property. WAC 468-34-030.

3-WA-c.6 – Comment on Application

Following notice of the application, the public is given 14 days to file a protest.

3-WA-c.7 – Are there any Protests to the Application?

Any person whose interests would be adversely affected by the granting of a right of way may file a protest. Protests will state the facts upon which the protest is based. The WSDOT will not consider a protest unless received within fourteen days after the WSDOT posted and published the notice of filing. WAC 468-34-060.

3-WA-c.8 – Conduct Hearing on the Application Protest

If a protest is filed, then the WSDOT will arrange for a hearing on any matters with respect to which the protest was filed. WAC 468-34-080. The hearing is conducted before the Secretary of Transportation.

3-WA-c.9 – Review Application

The WSDOT will review the application to ensure that all necessary considerations are included. The WSDOT has discretion on approving any application for a right of way.

3-WA-c.10 to 3-WA-c.11 – Does the WSDOT Approve the Application?

Depending on the location of the proposed right of way, either the WSDOT head office or the applicable regional office will approve or deny the application. If the application is not approved, then the developer should consider different locations for the project.

3-WA-c.12 – Utility Franchise or Permit

All Transmission Line Right-of-Ways must:

  • Incorporate all provisions as to location, construction, traffic protection, maintenance, access restriction, preservation of visual qualities, and any further special conditions the WSDOT deems appropriate;
  • Generally describe the facilities to be installed as to size, type, nature or extent;
  • Contain exhibits depicting: existing or proposed location in relation to the highway, existing or planned highway improvements, right of way, and control of access and access;
  • Contain a summary of the effects the installation will have on the aesthetics of the highway right of way and visible natural features;
  • Specify the extent of liability and responsibilities associated with future adjustment of the utility facilities to accommodate highway improvements;
  • Specify the effect of noncompliance with the conditions thereof;
  • Contain terms which commit the holder to a pledge that performance of routine cutting and trimming work will be accomplished in such a manner that the roadside will not be disfigured. When major work is involved, or damage to roadside appearance may become significant, the holder must secure the approval of WSDOT in advance of the work;
  • Contain a certification of compliance with the control zone guidelines. WAC 468-34-170.

Contact Information

| Add a Contact


| Add a Reference

Print PDF