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, 2020. 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 or e-mail.

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 January 25, 2021, review times are currently:

For All Permit Types

  • Application timeline: 3 business days

ROWM Permit Timelines (including application time)

  • Initial Full review: 9 weeks
  • Single review: 4 weeks
  • Extensions: 1 week

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 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)

Step 1: Determining what utility permit is right for your work

There are two types of utility permits available: A 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.

Minor Utility permits (SUUTIL) cover non-complex work in smaller geographic areas. Work permitted under a Minor Utility  permit includes:   

  • Geographic work limited in scope to a one block radius 
  • Short single service installations, maintenance, or repair of utility lines (Gas, Water, Power, Telecom, etc.)  
  • Exploratory/potholing/monitoring wells etc.  
  • Pole installation, replacement, removal and pole attachments 
  • Side Sewer /Drainage work approved by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) 
    • Note: You may now apply for your SDOT Side Sewer permit at any time  or request it at the time you apply for your SDCI Side Sewer permit. Instructions on how to apply for a SDOT Side Sewer permit can be found here.

Utility Major Permits (SUUMP) covers more complex projects or work that covers a larger than a one-block radius geographic area. If your project meets one or more of the following thresholds, you will need to apply for a Utility Major Permit: 

  • Geographic work larger than a one-block radius 
  • 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 2-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 up to 300 lineal feet on a non-arterial street or alley in a single family or low-rise zone can be permitted under a Minor Utility permit.   
  • Removal of underground storage tank 
  • Environmental remediation work or removal of contaminated soils 
  • Work that triggers ADA curb ramp installation due to utility work (e.g. utility and telecom pole removal/installation at intersections)  
  • Directional or horizontal boring method of installation 

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

Public main installations (e.g. water, storm, sewer etc.) are now permitted under a Street Improvement Permit (SIP). Refer to our Street Improvement Permits website for more information on the SIP process.  

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Step 2: Preparing documents required for your submittal

The following documents will be required to submit the Application:

Minor Utility Permits (SUUTIL) 
Document Type Document Description 
Right-of-Way Impact Plan (ROWIP)  Right-of-way closures with details per CAM 2116 
Site Plan  Utility location details per CAM 2116 
Letter of Authorization  Required if the Applicant or FRP contact is different from the Owner contact 

Utility Major Permits (SUUMP) 
Document Type Document Description 
Utility and Restoration Plans  Utility and restoration detail plan per the Utility and Restoration Plan Checklist   
Letter of Authorization  Required if the Applicant or FRP contact is different from the Owner contact 


If an application is submitted in error, you can withdraw the application by clicking on the Make Changes button on the record and selecting ROW Withdrawal and clicking the Continue Application button. This option is only available until Street Use staff starts processing the application. If you need to cancel an application and Make Changes is not available in the Seattle Services Portal, you can email that request to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov.  

You are not able to make any changes to the application once it is submitted. If application and/or document changes need to be made during the review process, email those change requests to SDOTPermits@seattle.gov.  

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Step 3: Determining if other documents may be required

Documents not required to submit the utility permit application may be required later in the permit process. Below is a list of documents that may be required based on the project scope, location and permit type. 

Utility permits follow the below permit steps. Document requirements are set to one of the below referenced permit steps.

Permit Flowchart  

Document Type  Document Description  Permit Step When the Document is Required
Right of Way Impact Plan (ROWIP)  Right-of-way closures with details per CAM 2116  SUUMP  Only - Screening after the first review cycle 
Phase Schedule Manager (Project Schedule as shown in the Portal)  Construction schedule per street frontage  SUUMP Only - Screening after the first review cycle - can be uploaded at Application  
Traffic Control Plan (TCP)  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 and pedestrian, bicycle and/or vehicle mobility is impacted 

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 
Other Documents  Based on project location and impact; Historic District CoA, Holiday Moratorium Waiver per CAM 2107, Pavement Moratorium, etc.  Review Evaluation 
Corrections Response  Street Use comments Sheet with Responses  Screening - cannot submit Corrections Submitted if this is required 

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Step 4: Applying for your permit   

Utility applications must be submitted through the Seattle Services Portal.  Once in the Seattle Services Portal:  

  1. Login 
    • If this is your first time applying for a permit online, click on 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. 
  2. Under Create New, click Permits-Street Use 
  3. Select Utility under the record type and choose Minor Utility Permit or Utility Major Permit 
  4. Follow the step by step instructions to complete the application process. How to instructions on how to apply for a utility permit can be found here.   

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Step 5: Checking the status of 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 (this task shows who the assigned Street Use reviewer is) 
    • 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  

Descriptions of our record statuses can be found here.  

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Step 6: Responding to Corrections in review  

When a revised and/or additional document is required before we can proceed with or complete the review process, an automatic email notification will be sent noting the record status has been changed to 'Awaiting Corrections.' 

Required documents will show as a condition of the permit. For details on each condition, click on the View Condition button on the record.   

If a Corrections Response condition is required, you will need to upload the Street Use Comments Sheet with your responses added.  

To download the Street Use Comments Sheet and marked-up documents (if applicable), go to the Attachments tab of your record and click on the blue hyperlink of each document you want to download.  

Once revised and/or additional documents are ready to submit, click on the Upload button in the Attachments tab. 

How to instructions on how to respond to corrections can be found here.     

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Step 7: 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.   

How to instructions on how to find the permit and other document attachments on the record can be found here.  

Information about permit fees and how to estimate can be found on our How to Estimate and Pay Permit Fees website

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Step 8: Scheduling the Job Start notification and Temporary No-Park permits

Prior to starting your project, you will need to notify us of 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 schedule the job start. 

To schedule a job start notification, follow the instructions found here.   

For more information on inspections, visit our Inspections website

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

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Step 9: Applying for an Amendment to modify/extend your permit 

Once your permit has been issued, application, scope of work and/or date changes need to be made by submitting an amendment application through the Seattle Services Portal.  

Amendments have different (shorter) process steps than an initial application. Documents are not required for an Amendment but can be optionally uploaded.  

When an Amendment is issued, it updates information on its Parent (initial) permit record.

The below amendment types will be available once your permit has been issued: 

Date Change Amendment - used to request a change to the start date of a use on an issued permit before the start of the use. 

  • Uses cannot be added or extended and the duration cannot be changed 
  • Scope of work and/or application changes cannot be requested  
  • In Hub areas, you will need to coordinate dates outside the initial issued dates and extension periods before proceeding with work (email SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov)  
  • How to instructions on how to apply for a Date Change Amendment can be found here.  

Extension Amendment - used to request the extension of an existing use(s) on an issued permit

  • Uses cannot be added  
  • Scope of work and/or application changes cannot be requested 
  • In Hub areas, you will need to coordinate dates outside the initial issued dates and extension periods before proceeding with work (email SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov)  
  • How to instructions on how to apply for an Extension Amendment can be found here.

Revision Amendment - used to request application information changes (contact, address and/or related information), scope of work changes (change of work zone, add or remove uses) and/or extending an existing use(s)  

  • Application and scope of work changes can be requested in the Amendment Description 
  • Uses can be added and extended 
  • Scope of work changes will require revised documents to be uploaded (e.g. ROWIP, Site Plan, TCP, Project Schedule etc.) and a full review will need to be performed 
  • How to instructions on how to apply for a Revision Amendment can be found here.    

Emergency Work Notice and Permit Requirements 

Emergency work is when the public health, safety and/or welfare is at risk. Emergency work should be responded to immediately to ensure public health and safety. The SDOT Street Use inspector should be contacted as soon as the response team is starting to mobilize. The permit application for emergency work must be submitted within 24-48 hours after the response work has begun. 

To indicate the work is to respond to an emergency, explain the emergency work in the Project and Location Description and select the 'Emergency' Permit Priority during the application process. To submit the permit application, a simple Right-of-Way Impact Plan (ROWIP) must be uploaded that at a minimum shows the work location. 

If the emergency work exceeds 5 calendar days in duration, a Revision Amendment must be applied for in the Seattle Services Portal and the required documents must be uploaded per Step 3 above. 

If additional work is required after the emergency work, a Revision amendment must be applied for per Step 9 above.  

Permit Expiration vs. Use Expiration (Six-Month Expiration Period) 

Utility permits now have a 6-month expiration period to allow phases of construction to be completed within a 6-month long period.  

Extending a use(s) during the 6-month expiration period is only required if the duration of the work exceeds the initial issued duration.  

Initial issuance: 

  • The Use Expiration = Use Start Date + Duration 
  • The Permit Expiration = Latest Use Expiration Date + 6-months 

Amendment issuance after the Latest Use Expiration Date: 

  • The Use Expiration = Use Start Date + Duration 
  • The Permit Expiration = Date of Issuance + 6-months 

Amendment issuance before the Latest Use Expiration Date: 

  • The Use Expiration = Use Start Date + Duration 
  • The Permit Expiration = Latest Use Expiration Date + 6-months 

Project and Construction Coordination Requirements 

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 SUUTIL and SUUMP applications. More information can be found on the Project & Construction Coordination Office webpage

If your work is in a Hub area: After initial or amendment issuance and prior to the permit expiration date, any changes to the permitted use dates must be coordinated with the Hub Coordinator by emailing  SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov

If your work is outside a Hub area: After initial or amendment issuance and prior to the permit expiration date, any changes to the permitted use dates must be checked against other scheduled work in dotMaps prior to beginning work. 

Resources:

Client Assistance Memos (CAMs)
Seattle ROW Improvements Manual (ROWIM)
Seattle Standard Plans and Specifications
SPU Design Guidelines for Public Storm Drain Facilities 
Right of Way Opening and Restoration Rules ROWORR
Street Use website

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