Utility Work in the Right of Way

Permit Counter Temporary Closures

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we closed our public-facing customer service counters on Monday, March 16. Our counters remain closed until further notice. This includes both the Street Use and the Traffic and Parking permit counters at the Seattle Municipal Tower on floors 23 and 37. We are still processing permit applications.

You can submit applications for all permit types online through the Seattle Services Portal.

Our staff will be available to provide application coaching and assist with issuing permits by phone.

Status Inquiries

On November 7, 2020, we'll be migrating to our new permitting platform Accela. In order to achieve a smooth transition, our teams will be taking part in extensive training in the new system throughout the remainder of September and October.

During this time, we'll still be processing permits, but we'll be operating at reduced capacity. Since our primary concern is processing permits in a timely fashion, we will be unable to respond to status inquiries during this time if the application is within the published issuance timeframe posted on our permit webpages. We appreciate your patience during this transition.  

Estimated Permit Timelines for Street Use Permits

As of October 1, 2020, review times are currently:

For All Permit Types

  • Application timeline: 8 business days

ROWM Permit Timelines (including application time)

  • Initial Full review: 10-12 weeks
  • Single review: 3 weeks
  • Extensions: 3 weeks

Street Improvement Permit Timelines (including application time)

  • Initial Full review: 8-10 weeks
  • Corrections review: approx. 8 weeks

Utility Major Permit Timelines (including application time)

  • Initial Full review: 6-8 weeks
  • Corrections review: 4-6 weeks

PSM Permit Timelines (including application time)

  • Simple review: 10 days
  • Full Review: 2-3 weeks

These are average timelines. Owing to an increase in permit applications combined with reduced capacity, our timelines are higher than normal. We are working diligently to reduce these timelines in advance of our transition to Accela in November. 

 NOTE: If a ROW Management Design Guidance meeting is required (see CAM 2109 for details) or correction cycles are necessary, additional time will be added to the timelines above.


We teamed up with Rooted in Rights to create a video to educate contractors and other people working in the right-of-way on the importance of maintaining a safe space for people to travel through construction sites. These tips aren't only useful for wheelchair users, they make sites safer for everyone! 

You can learn more about how to set up safe access through a construction site in How to Plan, Document, and Implement Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones (CAM 2110)

Minor Utility and Utility Major Permits

Overview
Preparing Required Documents
Minor Utility Permits

Step 1: Determine Whether or Not You'll Have Any Major Impacts to Mobility
Step 2: Create your Right-of-Way Impact Plan and Site Plan!
Step 3: Applying for Your Permit
Step 4: Checking Status on Your Permit in Review
Step 5: Issuing Your Permit
Step 6: Scheduling the Job Start Notification and Temporary No-Park Permits

Utility Major Permits

Step 1: Enter the Project into dotMaps
Step 2: Identify Project Impacts and Research Requirements
Step 3: Develop the Utility Major and Restoration Plan
Step 4: Develop the Phasing Plan and Update dotMaps
Step 5: Apply for the Utility Major Permit
Step 6: Review Cycles and Conditions of Approval
Step 7: ROW Coordination and Permit Issuance
Step 8: Checking Status on Your Permit in Review
Step 9: Scheduling the Job Start Notification and Temporary Non-Park Permits
Step 10: Applying For an Amendment to Modify/Extend Your Permit

Resources

Minor Utility or Utility Major Permits Overview

There are two types of utility permits available: a ROW Minor Utility Permit (SUUTIL) and a Utility Major Permit (SUUMP). These two permits are differentiated by the project's complexity and how the work will impact the ROW.

For work that does not trigger an UMP, as outlined below, installing or maintaining utility infrastructure with small impacts to the street and/or sidewalk requires a Minor Utility Permit (SUUTIL). Minor Utility Permits include: 

  • Work limited in scope to a one block radius 
  • Single service installations, maintenance of utility lines (Gas, Water, Power, Telecom, etc.) 
  • Side Sewer /Drainage work 
    • Note: You may apply for your SS permit at any time through our site or request it at the time you apply for your SDCI side sewer permit.

Utility Major Permits (SUUMP) are used for more complex projects. If your project meets one or more of and include the following thresholds, you will need to apply for a Utility Major Permit:

  • Any project that contains complex technical issues (e.g. deep excavations) that may have an impact to existing city assets and/or infrastructure 
  • Installation of gas mainlines greater than two inches in diameter 
  • Installation of a utility line longer than 100 linear feet on a non-arterial or arterial street  including alleys
    • Exception: installation of a utility line longer than 300 linear feet on a non-arterial street or alley in a single family or low-rise zone 
  • Removal of an underground storage tank 
  • Environmental remediation or contaminated soil cleanup 
  • Work that triggers ADA curb ramps installation due to utility work (e.g. utility and telecom pole removal/installation at intersections)  
  • Spot work that exceeds a one-block radius 
  • Directional or horizontal boring method of installation  

*Our Street Use Division may require an UMP beyond the thresholds outlined above in consideration of complexity of the work including proximity to existing infrastructure or assets. 

All agencies performing work in the ROW planned at least six months in advance must by law (SMC 15.32.050) enter their project information into dotMaps (unless exempt per criteria defined in SMC 15.32.050).   When a project is entered into dotMaps, a Street and Utility Improvement Plan (SUIP) number is generated, which needs to be included in the SUUMP application.  

For Minor Utility Permits, see Steps 1-6 here

For Utility Major Permits, see Steps 1-10 here


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Preparing Required Documents 

Whether you are applying for a Minor Utility permit (SUUTIL) or a Utility Major Permit (SUUMP), there are required documents that you will need to submit when applying for your permit.  

Required Documents for SUUTIL and SUUMP

Document Type

Document Description

When It is Required SUUTIL SUUMP
Right of Way Impact Plan

ROW closures with details per CAM 2116

SUUTIL- Application cannot be submitted without uploading this document


SUUMP - Screening after the first review cycle
Y Y
Site Plan Utility location details per CAM 2116

Application - cannot submit without uploading this document 

(not required for the side-sewer/drainage use type)

Y

Letter of Authorization Required if you or FRP contact is different from the owner contact Application - cannot submit without uploading this document  Y Y
Traffic Control Plan Temporary Traffic Control Plan per CAM 2111 and the City of Seattle Traffic Control Manual for In-Street Work

Either at Application if the street category is manually set to Arterial or at Screening when the reviewer verifies work is on an arterial or any street in a Hub 

Y

Y
Temporary No Parking Confirmation

(Paid Parking Permit)
If paid parking is impacted by the project, some sort of proof that a parking permit has been submitted Review Evaluation Y Y
Other Documents Based on project location and impact; Historic District CoA, Holiday Moratorium Waiver per CAM 2107, Pavement Moratorium, etc. Review Evaluation Y Y
Corrections Response Street Use comments Sheet with Responses Screening - cannot submit Corrections Submitted if this is required Y Y
Utility and Restoration Plan Utility and restoration detail plan Application - cannot submit without uploading this document Y
Phase Schedule Manager Schedule per street frontage Screening after the first review cycle Y

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Minor Utility Permits

Step 1: Determine Whether or Not You'll Have any Major Impacts to Mobility 

If your project will require any major impacts to mobility, you'll be required to submit a Traffic Control Plan (TCP) with your application. A "major impact" to mobility includes:

  • Impact to a travel or bike lane on an arterial street, or in the HUB, and/or 
  • Sidewalk closure on an arterial street, or in the HUB
    • To keep a sidewalk open, there needs to be at least 4-6 feet (depending on the area) clear and ADA accessible. 

*For details on preparing a Traffic Control Plan, please consult the following webpage.

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Step 2: Create your Right-of-Way Impact Plan and Site Plan! 

Now that you've determined you're applying for the right permit, go ahead and prepare the plans depicting your impact to the right-of-way, as well as a plan that shows the utility installations being proposed by your work. These can be on the same drawing, as long as all the requirements are met.   

In summary, the Right-of-Way Impact Plan needs to show the total area being used by all trucks, materials, etc. There should be a total area that is larger than just the disturbed ground where the utility work is occurring. 

The site plan will need to show the location of all existing utilities and features near the project. It should specifically call out the new infrastructure being installed or maintained, including trench depth, distance, location, clearances, and dimensions of anticipated restoration.  

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Step 3: Apply for Your Permit! 

Ready to get started? Click the Seattle Services Portal button on the right to begin your permit application. The Seattle Services Portal will guide you through the steps and ask you for relevant information along the way. You'll be asked to provide the Right-of-Way Impact Plan that you created in Step 2. 

*Note - Seattle Services Portal button is not always on the right (if looking on a phone, for example, it's at the bottom)

  1. Once in the Accela Permitting Portal:
    • If this is your first time applying for a permit online, click on the "New Users: register for an Account" located at the bottom of the page.
    • In order to see your converted permits from Hansen, one of the contacts on the converted permit(s) will have to match the information associated with your Seattle Services Portal Account. To do this, go to the Seattle Services Help Center and find our Help articles on how to find and search for converted permits.
  1. Under "Create New" click Permits-Street Use
  1. Select "Utility" under the record type and choose Minor Utility Permit
  1. Follow the step by step instructions to complete the application process.

For information about permit fee estimates, click here.
 

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Step 4: Checking the Status on Your Permit in Review 

Once you have applied for your permit online, there are two ways to check the status of your application:

  1. Searching for the individual record under Find Existing in Permits - Street Use
    • Click on the "Status" tab
    • The "Application" task is shown as complete with a green check
    • The "Screening" task is shown as "In Process" with an hourglass
    • When you expand the "Screening" task, you can see the due date, history of the task processing and the active "Primary Review" task
    • The next task is "Primary Review"
    • If there are required secondary reviewers (e.g. SDOT Traffic), they will  show under the "Screening" task with their due date and status after the "Screening" task is completed
  2. Find the permit under the My Records page, either in My Records Overview or in Permit - Street Use
    • The status of the permit will show in the "Status" column 

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Step 5: Issuing Your Permit  

Once your review has been approved, you will receive an email indicating that your permit has been issued. If there are fees due, the email will indicate that your permit is ready to issue upon payment. You can learn more about how to pay for your permit in Accela here.  

Log on to the Seattle Services Portal and open the permit record. You will be able to print your permit and all approved documents found in the Attachments tab of the record.  

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Step 6: Perform Your 'Job Start' and Set Up No-Parking Zone 

Notify us when your work will begin. Read the conditions of your approved permit and make sure you notify us that you're going to start work, sign onto the Seattle Services Portal and complete your 'Job Start Notification.' With the easy stuff out of the way, you can get started on your project! For additional directions on how to do this, please see the following webpage. 

If your project would benefit from establishing a 'no-parking' zone to ensure the area is available for your use, you'll need to: 

  • Rent "No Parking" signs from a traffic control vendor (you can go online and search "barricade company near me"). Attach a confirmation form to your no-park signs
    • For non-metered parking areas, complete the Self-Verification of Temporary No-Parking Zone documentation and then print and attach the confirmation form to your no-park signs.
    • For metered parking areas, you will need to visit our Traffic Permits Counter in person on the 37th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower
  • Signs must be placed 72 hours in advance of the no parking period to be valid

Temporary No-Parking zones are enforced by the Seattle Police Department's Parking Enforcement at (206) 386-9012. Without adequate advance placement of no parking signs, Parking Enforcement may be unable to enforce your no parking zone.

Visit the Temporary No Parking Zone Page to learn more about how to set one up.

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Utility Major Permits

Step 1: Enter the Project into dotMaps

Anyone working in the ROW is required to enter the project on dotMaps, at least 6 months in advance of the start of work. When a project is entered into dotMaps, a Street and Utility Improvement Plan (SUIP) number is generated, which is the dotMaps project ID number.  

Please note: You are required to provide the SUIP (ID) number for your project when you apply for the Utility Major Permit.  

dotMaps provides specific information about the ROW to support project coordination such as restrictions of the ROW, information about other planned or permitted projects, and/or ROW uses. dotMaps customers can learn about coordination meetings and potential construction conflicts.    

Please note: Updates to dotMaps are needed any time there is a change to project plans and/or schedule.   

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Step 2: Identify Project Impacts and Research Requirements 

Identify Impacts: Proposed project plans must take into consideration how the project will impact existing ROW conditions (infrastructure) as well as ROW users (mobility).  

ROW assessment for planning purposes are intended to: 

  • Identify impacts to existing infrastructure within the ROW such as utilities, trees, and structures (retaining walls, bridges, areaways/tunnels, etc.)
  • Identify mobility impacts to public transit systems as well as vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and parking facilities   

Please note: The ROW assessment can affect the feasibility of using one location in the ROW over another for the work; it can affect or influence requirements for ROW restorations.

Subsurface utilities can be difficult to identify in the City of Seattle during a visit to the ROW or site. For additional options for researching subsurface utility impacts see: 

Recommended Research Requirements:    

Utility Major and Restoration Plans must conform with the requirements set forth in: 

  • COS Right of Way Improvement Manual (ROWIM); aka "Seattle Streets illustrated" 
  • COS Standard Specifications, and COS Standard Plans; for Municipal Construction 
  • SDOT Director's Rule 01-2017: Right of Way Opening and Restoration Rules (ROWORR) 

Other "non-standard" requirements may exist for ROW restoration for the preservation of historical or landmark infrastructure which may require engineered designs and details that are not typical. These requirements are often identified during the Utility Major and Restoration Plan review process (see step 3) when the ROW stakeholder is given the opportunity to conduct a "secondary review" and provide the designer with additional comments for the specific impacts and requirements. 

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Step 3: Develop the Utility Major and Restoration Plan 

All Utility Major and Restoration Plans (UMRP) require specific coversheet and plan information. These requirements are outlined in the Utility Major and Restoration Plan Checklist for Utility Major Projects (UMRP). This UMRP should show clearly the proposed limits of the project, type of installation, details of sections, and all required final restoration limits. 

Please note: Ensuring required information is included and checking that all information is accurate minimizes the number of SDOT review and amendment cycles.

Design Guidance: If you have questions about design options, requirements, or the permitting process; a request for a design guidance meeting can be made at the time you apply.  

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Step 4: Develop the Phasing Plan and Update dotMaps

Phases of a UMP project routinely include site preparation, staging, ground breaking, and restoration. Project phasing is at the discretion of the permittee; however, each phase of a project requires detailed planning and scheduling. Our Street Use Division primarily uses the following tools for planning and scheduling the various phases of a project: 

  • Right of Way Impact Plans (ROWIPs): A ROWIP reveals the extent or limit of the ROW "use" or "occupation" needed for the project. This includes working and staging areas. Each phase of a project may be divided into multiple Right of Way Impact Plans for supporting large or complex work. A template ROWIP Plan, and information about ROWIPs can be found in CAM 2116
  • Phase Schedule Manager (PSM): A Phase Schedule Manager is coordinated with the ROWIP. As a minimum, each impacted street segment described on the ROWIP is also described by a row on the PSM. There may be some situations where each street segment is divided into multiple rows of the PSM (differing start dates/durations, ROW impacts, etc.) The PSM provides details about the projected start date, duration of work, and square footage. A template of the PSM can be found here.
  • Traffic Control Plan (TCP): TCPs are required for work done on all arterial streets, for work done on all streets in a High Impact Area or Construction HUB, and at the discretion of SDOT if the work poses a significant mobility impact. See CAM 2111 - Checklist for Traffic Control Plan Submittal for additional Traffic Control Plan information.   

Please note: Each time updates are made to ROWIP and PSM, updates for dotMaps need to be made as well.   

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Step 5: Apply for the Utility Major Permit 

UMP applications must be submitted at Seattle Services Portal which will guide you through the process of entering essential information. You will receive a permit application number (not issued yet) when the UMP application packet is submitted. Please use this permit application number as a reference in correspondences with the City.   

  1. Once in the Accela Permitting Portal:
    • If this is your first time applying for a permit online, click on the "New Users: register for an Account" located at the bottom of the page.
    • In order to see your converted permits from Hansen, one of the contacts on the converted permit(s) will have to match the information associated with your Seattle Services Portal Account. To do this, go to the Seattle Services Help Center and find our Help articles on how to find and search for converted permits.
  1. Under "Create New" click Permits-Street Use
  1. Select "Utility" under the record type and choose Utility Major Permit
  1. Follow the step by step instructions to complete the application process.

For information about permit fee estimates, click here.

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Step 6: Review Cycles and Conditions of Approval 

Initial Review: The primary reviewer will screen and review the plans to determine the level of completeness of your submittal. Any additional technical reviews by other asset owners in the ROW will be looped in to review the plans. Corrections and comments from these additional technical reviewers will be sent back to the primary reviewer. The primary reviewer will then compile the comments and send them back to you to update the plans or provide additional information required prior to issuance of permit. 

Correction Review: Once the corrections and response are submitted through the Seattle Services Portal, the primary reviewer will screen and route the plans to the appropriate technical experts who provided the initial correction comments. Additional technical experts may be added due to changes from the initial submittals. Any new corrections and comments will be compiled by the primary reviewer and sent back to you. 

Conditions of Approval: During the review process, beside the plans noted in Steps 3 and 4, additional conditions of approval may arise such as ADA MEF, Surety Bond and any required written approval from specific asset owners. All conditions of approval will need to be met prior to permit issuance.  

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Step 7: ROW Coordination and Permit Issuance

  We use multiple tools for ROW Coordination: 

  • SDOT dotMaps: Project coordination begins by entering the project into dotMaps (See step 1). Your periodic updates to dotMaps helps us facilitate ROW use.
  • Group Meetings: dotMaps identifies when a project is in a "group" area such as a "HUB." Attending (in person or by web meeting) group meetings provides you the opportunity to share your plans with other stakeholders and begin to understand the coordination needs or requirements for a project. You can discover and take advantage of windows of opportunities for planning your project in high impact areas by engaging and participating in group meetings. 
  • TCPs (when required): Traffic control plans, including pedestrian mobility checklists and plans, receive a final review at this point. See step 4 for more information about TCPs. 
  • Construction Notices: A project may have multiple and or recurring notification requirements. See CAM 2117 to learn more about what the notification requirements are for your project. 
  • Vendor Coordination 45 business days 
  • Project Manager and/or HUB Approval
  • Transit Facility Coordination (bus stops, trolley lines, street car, etc.) 

Other coordination requirements may be discovered during the Coordination Approval Process, such as if the project has a "Mass-Excavation" scope of work. If this were the case Haul Routes (including staging areas) may need to be planned and approved.

Once any required revisions are corrected, and we approve your permit, you'll receive an email indicating that your permit is ready to issue upon payment.  

Once you receive that email, you can pay for your permit online through the Seattle Services Portal and print it. 

Please review the current fee schedule and consult with our Street Use permit staff to determine the exact fees if you have questions.   

After the permit has been issued,you need to perform 'Job Start' and set up a No-Parking Zone. 

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Step 8: Checking the Status on Your Permit in Review 

Once you have applied for your permit online, there are two ways to check the status of your application:

  1. Searching for the individual record under Find Existing in Permits - Street Use
    • Click on the "Status" tab
    • The "Application" task is shown as complete with a green check
    • The "Screening" task is shown as "In Process" with an hourglass
    • When you expand the "Screening" task, you can see the due date, history of the task processing and the active "Primary Review" task
    • The next task is "Primary Review"
    • If there are required secondary reviewers (e.g. SDOT Traffic), they will  show under the "Screening" task with their due date and status after the "Screening" task is completed
  2. Find the permit under the My Records page, either in My Records Overview or in Permit - Street Use
    • The status of the permit will show in the "Status" column 

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Step 9: Scheduling the Job Start Notification and Temporary Non-Park Permits 

Prior to starting your project, you will need to notify us when your project will begin by scheduling a job start notification. Review your approved plans and carefully read all the conditions of your permit and then:

To schedule a job start notification, follow the instructions found on this Help article.

For more information on inspections, see our Street Use Inspections webpage.

If you need to reserve a non-paid parking space, follow the instructions on our Temporary No Parking Permits webpage

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Step 10: Applying for an Amendment to Modify/Extend Your Permit

Once your permit has been issued, if you need to make changes such as changing the permitted dates, modifying your scope of work, or extend your uses, there are four different types of amendments to choose from. Log on to your Seattle Services portal account and from your dashboard pick the permit you would like to modify and submit the required information.

Here are some amendment types:

Date Change Amendment - This amendment type is for when your project start date may have been delayed and you want to request a change prior to your permitted use date. This does not change the duration of the use but would be used when you need to change the actual start date before work has begun.

Extension Amendment - This amendment type is for when your project will take longer than you anticipated and you need to extend a use (one or more) on your permit. This is used only when you need additional time to complete your project; no other changes can be made under this amendment.

Revision Amendment - This amendment allows you to make changes to the scope of work, add or remove use areas, revise contact information or request a cancellation of your permit. You may combine an extension with this amendment type if necessary.

Withdrawal Amendment - Did you apply for a permit only to realize that you had made a mistake and didn't actually want it? If so, you may withdraw your application in the Accela portal as long as we have not begun processing your application.

For more information on how to apply for an amendment, refer to our Help articles on how to make changes to a permit in the Permits-Street Use/Corrections and Changes section of the Seattle Services Portal Help Center.  

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