Construction Use in the Right of Way

What permit(s) do I need for construction-related work in the right of way?

constructionConstruction permits are required when the right of way will be used for activities associated with development on private or public property. There are three primary types of construction use permits:

Annual vehicle

Annual vehicle permits can be used for very short-term uses that do not involve significant restrictions of public access to the right of way. For more information on instances in which an annual vehicle permit can be used to complete work, please see CAM 2108.

To apply for an Annual Vehicle Permit, please use the Annual Vehicle Permit Application

Simple construction use

Simple construction use permits are issued for residential storage containers and landscaping work in the right of way. For more information on permitting residential storage containers, please see CAM 2118.

For more information on permitting tree planting (CAM 2304), tree pruning or removal (CAM 2302), or gardening in planting strips (CAM 2305).

Complex construction use

Complex construction use permits are required when performing construction activities that impact public access to the right of way, such as:

  • Material, vehicle, and/or equipment staging
  • Crane use, installation, or removal
  • Installation of structures such as scaffolding, fences, walls etc.
  • Shoring installation
  • Swing stage activities

For painting a neighborhood intersection (please see CAM 2506 for more information on intersection painting)

Specific types of work in the right of way permitted under a construction use permit include

  • Crossing the curb with construction equipment
  • Staging/storing or construction equipment or materials
  • Staging a construction dumpster
  • Installation of rocked or spalled construction-site entrances
  • Use of mobile or hydraulic equipment
  • Installation of scaffolding, swing stages, or conex boxes
  • Crane installation and staging
  • Shoring installation
  • Driveway installation
  • Paving
  • Landscaping
  • Installation of encroachments such as fences, walls, awnings, street furniture, and parklets

Apply for a construction use permit

Download the construction use permit application.

If you are interested in modifying your current construction use permit, please visit our Permit Renewal, Extension, and Decision Review Page.

For your reference, we have also provided the following short list of materials that may help you plan and implement your project:

Please note, submission of this permit application is not the only step required to obtain a construction use permit. 

For annual vehicle permits, please use the Annual Vehicle Permit Application.

The following documents are always required prior to issuance of construction use permits: 

Additional documents that may also be required prior to permit issuance include:

  • ROW management permit transmittal form if applying at the permit counter  
  • Traffic-control plan, if your work will take place on an arterial, or involved closing the sidewalk and/or travel lane on any street in a designated construction Hub. please see CAM 2111 for more information. You may use the traffic-control plan base map tool if your planned channelization matches current conditions  
  • Letter of authorization, if applying for a permit on behalf of the property/asset owner  
  • Proof of liability insurance  
  • Structural calculations for structure construction including scaffolding with live loads
  • Holiday Moratorium Exception Request. Please see CAM 2107 for more information.

Your completed permit application package may be emailed to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov, or submitted in person at the Street Use permit counter on the 23rd floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 5th Ave. Our counter hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM, and Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 AM - 5 PM. Please note, we do not accept payments at the permit counter after 4:30 PM.

SDOT's Project & Construction Coordination Office (PCCO) is charged with coordinating projects planned for the right of way to save money, protect public assets, and reduce construction-related impacts.

As part of this effort, the PCCO manages the dotMaps application and SDOT Project and Construction Coordination Map, an interactive tool displaying current and future construction projects in the right of way, as well as other events that may impact traffic. Please note: all agencies performing work in the right of way that is planned at least 6 months ahead (SMC 15.32.050) must enter their project information into dotMaps. For more information on how to enter project data, please visit our Project and Construction Coordination Map page.

Within the PCCO, the Access Seattle workgroup manages the Construction Hub program, which coordinates the scopes and schedules of projects in areas of Seattle experiencing particularly high levels of construction projects operating in close proximity to one another - these areas are known as Hubs.  

If your project falls within one of the designated construction hubs, listed on our Construction Hub page, you are required to coordinate with the appropriate Hub inspector throughout the duration of your project. If you have questions about Hub coordination and reporting requirements, please contact Access Seattle Construction Hub Supervisor Johanna Landherr at johanna.landherr@seattle.gov or 206- 684-4574.

Learn more about the Project and Construction Coordination Office. You may also contact the PCCO program manager, Heather Marx, at heather.marx@seattle.gov or 206-615-0801.

For larger projects, or unusually impactful smaller ones, a construction management plan (CMP) may be required. A CMP is a document that outlines plans for project elements such as notification, noise mitigation, vehicle and material movement, and general right- of-way use. In short, a CMP clarifies how you plan to manage the impacts of demolition and construction activity on the public over the course of your project.

When is a CMP required?

A CMP is required when the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) determines that State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) thresholds have been triggered, or when one is required as a mitigation measure as part of a master-use permit (MUP). 

A complete CMP will answer questions such as: 

  • How much material will be transported by truck and what route will the driver take to and from the project site? 
  • How will heavy equipment get to your project site? 
  • If you plan to use a crane, how will it impact the public right of way? 
  • What hours does your construction team plan to work? 
  • Will excessive noise impact adjacent buildings?

When required, CMPs and haul-route plans should be submitted to the Seattle Department of Transportation Street Use Division via SDOTPermits@seattle.gov as soon as there is enough information to determine how the project will be built - ideally between three and six months prior to the start of construction. 

Note: Submission of any required CMP must take place before the SDCI will issue excavation/shoring or construction permits, and prior to submission of your SDOT Street Use permit application.

If a CMP is required for your project, you may find the following tools helpful: 

In order to preserve city assets and reduce disruption to the traveling public, resurfaced or reconstructed roadways are not be cut into for a period of at least five years  (SMC 15.32.050). If your project requires the disturbing of a moratorium street and you wish to seek an exception to this requirement, you will need to submit a Pavement Moratorium Waiver Request Form to SDOT for review. 

More details about right of way pavement and restoration requirements can be found in the Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule.

Contractors interested in becoming a registered to conduct pavement restoration in the city of Seattle can learn more about the process by downloading client assistance memo (CAM) 2602

Apply to become a registered pavement restoration contractor.

When emergency work impacting the right of way is necessary for health or safety reasons that could not be anticipated, a permit is still required. An application for a permit must be submitted either on the same day, or the next business day after the emergency work has begun.  

When emergency work occurs in the public right of way:  

  1. Respond to the emergency
  2. Notify SDOT:

    During work hours:
    Street Use Division at 206-684-5283 OR

    During non-work hours:
    SDOT Charles Street Shop at 206-386-1218
  3. Submit a permit application to Street Use on the same day or by the end of the next business day after the work has begun

Once the initial emergency work has been completed, contact the appropriate Street Use inspector to determine what, if any, follow-up actions need to take place:

  • If the work is entirely complete and the site has been restored, no other action or information is required 
  • If the work is still underway, and the work is expected to take more than five (5) days to complete, a traffic-control plan (TCP) and any other documents requested by the inspector must be submitted to Street Use. Work may continue if the traffic-control setup is safe and the work can be completed in a safe and timely manner.