4. PERMIT PROCESS
This Chapter describes the general requirements and administrative process for obtaining a permit from SHA for State highway access or other work on the State right-of-way. Prospective applicants should contact the appropriate EAPD Area Engineer with any questions regarding the permitting process.
4.1 Types of Permits Issued
SHA issues several types of permits for access and various construction activities. Permits may be issued by either EAPD or the pertinent District office, depending on the type of permit applied for.
4.1.1 Commercial/Industrial/Subdivision Access Permit
The following projects and construction activities require an Access Permit, which is issued by EAPD:
Table 4.1.1 Activities That Require an SHA Access Permit
- Entrances for Commercial or Industrial site access (new or modified)
- Public or Private Street Connections for subdivision access (new or modified)
- Off-site State Highway improvements by developers, where mandated by the local jurisdiction in connection with development approval or required by SHA
- Local Government (County or Municipal) road improvement projects on State right-of-way, when related to conditions of land use/development approval or resulting in a new highway intersection
- Highway Rehabilitation/Streetscape Improvements that involve work in the travel lanes of the State highway
- Temporary construction access for the above
4.1.2 District Permit
Except when required in connection with an Access Permit, the following projects and activities within the State right-of-way require a permit issued by the appropriate District office.
Table 4.1.2 Activities That Require an SHA District Permit
- Construction or modification of residential driveways
- Repair or replacement of entrances, curb and gutter, or pavement
- Construction, repair, or replacement of sidewalk
- Construction or modification of drainage connections
- Utility work
- Highway Rehabilitation and/or Streetscape Improvements by Local Government (County or Municipal)
- Sign Placement
- Any other work on the State highway
- Any other work within the State's right-of-way (highway right of way, easement areas, land holdings, etc.)
- Pedestrian facilities and bus shelters
Prospective applicants should coordinate with the District Office staff for further information on the process and requirements for obtaining their permits. It should be noted that all utility work must be coordinated with and permitted through the District office, independent of the Access Permit.
4.2 Points of Contact for Filing Applications
Any individual, corporation, or local government required to obtain a permit in accordance with Section 3.3 and Section 4.1 of this manual shall make written application to the appropriate address below.
SHA Access Permits
Maryland State Highway Administration
Engineering Access Permits Division – Mail Stop C-302
P.O. Box 717
Baltimore, Maryland 21203
Phone: (410) 545-5600
4.3 Access Concepts and Local Government Coordination
SHA's permit process is separate from, but closely tied to, the local subdivision and land development approval process. Proper coordination of land development, highway access, and transportation system improvements is essential to maintaining a safe and functional State and local highway network. SHA coordinates with local government in the planning of highway improvements, the review of subdivision and development proposals, and the issuance of State and local construction permits.
SHA’s concurrence with proposed highway access concepts for site development and subdivision projects is normally obtained through submission of preliminary plans to the local approving authority. As the project moves forward into final engineering design and construction permits, SHA continues to provide concurrent review comments to the local approving authority. This is to ensure that site plans are prepared in compliance with SHA’s access and drainage requirements and adequate progress is being made towards fulfilling the requirements for an access permit. Details of this process are discussed further in Chapter 5.
While incorporating SHA comments into the local planning and development process helps to provide timely identification and consideration of highway access issues, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that subdivision and development proposals are prepared in compliance with SHA requirements, as well as those of the local approving authority.
4.4 Traffic Studies
Traffic studies may be required by SHA, the local approving authority, or both, in order to evaluate the impact of the proposed development on traffic conditions on the State highway at the point(s) of proposed access and/or nearby intersections. Traffic study requirements and procedures are discussed in Chapter 6.
4.5 SHA Plan Review
Detailed engineering plans for all construction work proposed on State property must be approved by SHA prior to permit issuance. All SHA comments arising from the plan review process must be addressed satisfactorily and approvals from the various offices must be obtained. Commercial or subdivision access shown on the plans must be consistent with access concepts accepted by SHA and the local approving authority and in compliance with all applicable SHA standards for highway access as established in this Manual. The scope of highway capacity improvements required by the local approving authority must be consistent with the applicable conditions of approval. It is strongly recommended that an appropriate amount of time is planned in the development process to allow sufficient review, comment, and approval of development plans. Chapter 7 provides a detailed overview of the SHA plan review process and requirements.
4.6 Documents Required for the Access Permit
Applications for an access permit will be considered complete when accompanied by all required submissions and supporting documentation. The extent of submissions and documents required may vary with the scope of the project, the complexity of the work proposed, and the specific issues involved. However, certain documents are required for all access permits. Documents routinely required are discussed in this section.
NOTE: In order to ensure timely processing of applications and related materials, we must insist that all submittals be made directly to the EAPD. Checks for all referenced fees and payments shall be made payable to the “State of Maryland”.
4.6.1 Basic Submittal Requirements
At a minimum, the following documents must be submitted by the applicant and accepted by SHA prior to the issuance of any access permit:
- Application Form. A completed application shall be submitted on forms provided by EAPD. Instructions and important legal notices are provided on the application form. Unsigned, incomplete, or incorrect forms will not be accepted.
- Approved Plans. Ten (10) copies of the SHA-approved plans are required for issuance of the permit and subsequent distribution. Unapproved plans will not be accepted. The plan review and approval process, involving EAPD and other SHA offices as appropriate, is discussed in Chapter 7.
- Engineering Fee. In connection with the processing of applications, an engineering fee is charged for each point of access. Currently this fee is $50.00 per point of access to the State highway.
- Performance surety. In order to assure complete and satisfactory compliance with the terms and specifications of the access permit, the permittee is required to submit performance surety in the form of a performance bond, letter of credit, or certified check acceptable to EAPD. The amount of the performance surety shall be the next highest even thousand dollar amount above l50 percent of the approved cost estimate for the construction. This estimate must be acceptable to the SHA and must be representative of the actual cost that SHA would incur to complete the work, including all necessary utility relocation, traffic management, erosion and sediment control, environmental restoration, etc. If a bond is submitted, SHA will be designated as the obligee and the permittee as principal. In instances where a certified check is submitted, the check shall be made payable to the State Highway Administration. The Federal ID number or social security number must be shown on certified checks. Please note that it takes 6-8 weeks for a certified check to be returned after project completion and SHA final inspection.
4.6.2 Additional Submittal Requirements
At SHA’s discretion, the following documents may be required on a case-by-case basis:
- Inspection Cost. At the discretion of SHA, construction inspection staff may be assigned to provide full time inspection of the work stipulated in the permit. The cost of construction engineering services (inspection, materials testing, expenses, etc.) is the responsibility of the permittee. If the cost is expected to exceed $5,000.00, the estimated amount must be paid in advance. This cost will be calculated on the base pay of the assigned employee plus overhead. Funds will be placed in a holding account and assigned a dedicated billwork number for SHA use and tracking. The unused portion will be returned to the permittee upon release of the permit. If the posted funds are found to be insufficient, the permittee will be advised of the need for additional funds.
- Documentation of Utility Relocation Arrangements. The relocation or adjustment of any public or private utility shall be the responsibility of the permittee. Before the issuance of an Access Permit, the permittee will be required to submit letters from the permittee or utility companies acknowledging and agreeing to the financial responsibility regarding the relocation or adjustment of utilities. The applicant's signature on the application form shall also constitute acknowledgement and agreement to this financial responsibility. Refer to 9.3 for further discussion on this responsibility.
- Right-of-Way Dedication. When right-of-way dedication for future highway needs is required by the local subdivision and/or development approving authority, the dedication shall be recorded on the approved subdivision plat and/or site plan. The plats and property description must be approved by SHA prior to issuance of the permit.
- Conveyance of Property Rights. All State highway improvements must be located within existing State right-of-way or new right-of-way conveyed by deed to the State. In addition, all perpetual drainage easement and revertible slope easement required in connection with the access improvements shall be conveyed by deed to the State. The deed, description, plats, and appropriate title documentation must be approved by SHA and evidence of the deed recordation shall be provided prior to issuance of the Access Permit.
- Temporary Impacts to Adjacent Property. Impacts to adjacent properties necessary to accommodate the proposed design shall be the responsibility of the permittee. Where significant impacts are involved, SHA may require the applicant to furnish letters from the affected property owners and/or copies of any formal easements that have been granted, prior to issuance of the Access Permit.
- Payment for Project Cost Participation. In the event of cost participation in an SHA project, the Access Permit will not be issued until the permittee has furnished payment for design and/or construction costs.
- Traffic Signal Fee. When installation or modification of a traffic signal is authorized under the permit, a payment for the cost of engineering review and long-term energy and maintenance costs shall be made by the applicant. The payment shall be in accordance with a fee structure maintained by the Office of Traffic and Safety.
- Joint Use Storm Water Management Facility Fee. When a shared use storm water management facility arrangement has been approved by the Highway Hydraulics Division, the applicant shall make fee payment in accordance with a fee structure maintained by the Highway Hydraulics Division.
4.7 Permit Processing and Issuance
Upon receipt of the required documents from the applicant and confirmation that the applicant has obtained the appropriate approval(s) from the local government, EAPD staff will prepare the permit and assemble all supporting documentation. The surety and permit documents are processed, recorded in our database, and the permit is prepared for final review and signature. Please allow a few weeks for SHA to process the complete application package and issue the permit. In the event that unforeseen problems are discovered with the plans or other aspects of the application package during permit processing, the applicant will be promptly advised in order to facilitate timely issuance of the permit.