Construction Use in the Right of Way

Please Note:

Based on information provided by WSDOT, on January 11, 2019, State Route 99 through downtown Seattle will be closing for approximately three weeks to realign SR 99 into the new tunnel. During the closure, both the viaduct and the tunnel will be closed. Drivers should expect up to six weeks of region-wide congestion. 

To minimize transportation impacts, construction and curbspace vending will be restricted on critical streets from January 4 - February 15, 2019. Please see the Restrictions During Viaduct Closure map showing streets where right-of-way closures will not be permitted.

If work has been scheduled during the restriction period, we will contact you prior to the closure of the viaduct. Your permit may be revoked with at least 30 calendar days' notice, per SMC 15.04.070. Any revoked permits will be re-issued after the closure with no additional costs.

Please see our informational one-page document for more information. 

In Addition:

The City of Seattle is still experiencing a high volume of construction applications for both private and public projects. Traffic Control Plan (TCP) reviews have extended beyond typical timelines, which is directly impacting timelines for Right-of-Way (ROW) Management permits. This is a temporary impact, improving as more resources become available and processes are streamlined.

Right now, the below timelines can be expected. These timelines may vary based on the complexity of the project.

  • ROW Management permit intake and screening timeline: 4 business days
  • ROW Management permit timeline without TCP: 4 weeks
  • ROW Management permit timeline with TCP: 6-8 weeks
  • Traffic Control Plan (TCP) reviews: 3 weeks

Holiday Construction Moratorium

The Holiday Construction Moratorium restricts construction work during winter holidays in streets and sidewalks in the Downtown Retail Core, Pioneer Square, and in the Chinatown-International District. The moratorium in the Chinatown-International District was added in 2018 in recognition of the Lunar New Year.

Information on the Holiday Construction Moratorium is available in CAM 2107: Holiday Construction Moratorium.

Holiday Construction Moratorium dates for 2018 - 2019:

  • Downtown/Pioneer Square: November 22, 2018 (Thanksgiving) through January 1, 2019 (New Year's Day)
  • Chinatown/International District: January 15, 2019 through February 26, 2019 (three weeks prior to the Lunar New Year and three weeks after the holiday)

Click here to view the moratorium boundaries for the Downtown Retail Core and Pioneer Square

Click here to view the moratorium boundaries for the Chinatown-International District. 

If you are planning to perform work in the public right of way within the moratorium boundaries during these days, please submit a Request to Work During the Holiday Construction Moratorium form.

Deadline for submitting requests:

  • Downtown Retail Core and Pioneer Square:
    • Priority Submittal Deadline: August 31, 2018
    • Final Submittal Deadline: September 30, 2018
  • Chinatown-International District:
    • Final Submittal Deadline: December 1, 2018

Submit moratorium exception requests to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov.

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

constructionConstruction Use 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.

More information on permitting tree planting may be found in CAM 2304. Information on tree pruning or removal is found in CAM 2302, and information on gardening in planting strips is found in 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. Please visit our Public Space Management programs page to learn more. 

Please see CAM 2109 for more information on permitting requirements for Construction Use permits.

Apply for a Construction Use permit

Download the Construction Use permit application.

Please note, submission of this permit application is not the only step required to obtain a Construction Use permit. Please see CAM 2109 for more information on permitting requirements for Construction Use permits.

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:

Your completed permit application package may be emailed to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov, or submitted in person at the Street Use permit counter.

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

Project Notification

Project notifications are required for permitted work in the right-of-way that impede a mode of travel (e.g. pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular closure). Notification requirements vary by project type and duration. Please see CAM 2117: Notification Requirements for Street Use Permittees.

For all permit types, the project notification must include the information listed in this template and in the "Project Notification Template Standards" listed in CAM 2117.

If your project will be longer than six months in duration, you will need to post and maintain an on-site project notice at each closure location visible to the public.

For crosswalk closures exceeding two weeks in duration, a crosswalk closure notice must be posted to, and maintained on, each crosswalk-closure barricade.

Modify a Construction Use permit

If you are interested in modifying your current Construction Use permit, please download our construction use permit modification form.

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 DOT_ConstructionHub@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.