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SDOT Street Use Franchise and Utility Permits

Street Restoration
About the Franchise and Utility Permit Section
Utility Records
Utility Permit Publications

Refer to our frequently asked questions for more information on utility permits.

SDOT Utility Cut Restoration Billing Changes

Effective September 1, 2013, SDOT Street Maintenance Division will change the way it bills for street restoration services. SDOT will begin collecting for their services based on a time and materials basis.

The SDOT utility cut rate sheet expired as of January 1, 2013. However, SDOT has been continuing to use the expired rate sheet while comparing the unit costs in the rate sheet to the Street Maintenance costs for restoration. SDOT has determined that there is too much variability in ancillary costs such as King County Metro deactivations and required overtime work on arterial streets, to create a unit cost structure that is equitable for all restoration work. Because of the variability, SDOT will switch from a rate based structure to billing time and materials for each restoration completed. This change will ensure that projects are paying for the actual work completed on a specific project, rather than distributing the higher associated costs on specific projects to all restorations.

The switch to time and materials billing will be made on September 1, 2013. Invoices will be mailed monthly. However, you may receive multiple invoices if the restoration work spans multiple billing cycles.

SPU has elected to hire a contractor, rather than continue to use SDOT Street Maintenance crews, to complete the restoration work for new water taps. This will allow SPU to continue to provide some level of predictability for restoration costs prior to the start of work. The City of Seattle has existing vendor contracts with several paving companies and they will use those contracts to provide restoration services for new water taps only.

If you have any questions regarding the SDOT change in billing process please contact Lorie Munger at If you have any questions regarding the SPU restoration process for new water taps, please contact Karen Lanning at


Street Restoration
More than 4,000 openings are made in Seattle's streets every year, for example to connect or repair water, sewer, gas or other underground utilities. A Street Use permit is required prior to working in the right-of-way. The permit requires that the right-of-way be restored in accordance with City of Seattle Standard Plans and Specifications, and in accordance with the Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule. The permit-holder is responsible for the performance of the pavement restoration for the life of the pavement.

Most permittees prefer to have Seattle Department of Transportation restore the pavement for them. SDOT workers restore thousands of street openings every year, on a reimbursable basis, for public and private customers. When SDOT restores the street, then the permittee is no longer liable for future defects in the pavement. The rates that SDOT charges for this work are set by City Ordinance. As of September 1, 2013 SDOT Street Maintenance will charge on a time and materials basis only.

About the Franchise and Utility Permit Section

The Franchise and Utility Permit Section issues permits to individuals or corporations or associations to construct, maintain and operate railroad or streetcar tracks, pipes, ducts, utility tunnels, vaults, maintenance holes, poles, fixtures, wires or any other appurtenants on, under or over the streets, alleys or public places of the City of Seattle. These installations include in part: gas mains and services; electrical manholes and conduits; telecommunication manholes and conduits; steam mains and services; water mains and services; utility poles; underground fuel storage tanks; and aerial CATV and telecommunications cables.

The applicant must submit an application and plan detailing the proposed utility to the Franchise and Utility Permit Section. The application and plan will be reviewed and any corrections noted before a permit will be issued.

Utility Permit Publications

Utility Permit Application (includes Street Use General Application)

Utility Major Intake Transmittal Form

Utility and Pavement Restoration Plan Checklist

Impact of Utility Cuts on Performance of Seattle Streets (PDF format): Final Report (including Appendix A, Literature Review) | Appendix C, Utility Cut Surveys | Appendix D, Deflection Test Data, Part One | Appendix D, Deflection Test Data, Part Two | Appendix D, Deflection Test Data, Part Three

Standards for Plans for Street Use Utility Permits

Standards for Above Ground Cabinets – Director Rule SDOT 2-2009

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