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Infrastructure Permits

MDOT receives infrastructure permit applications from individuals, local governmental agencies, organizations, and businesses. These applications, to operate or construct privately or publicly owned facilities within the state highway right of way, include the following types of facilities or operations.

MDOT permits these types of facilities or operations in a manner which does not significantly compromise the integrity of state highway right of way systems, while simultaneously providing assurance to the general traveling public for the safest transportation environment possible.

Permit Types

  • Utility Classification for Use of State Highway Right of Way

    Use of state highway right of way by utilities shall be in accordance with Public Act 368 of 1925, the MDOT Utility Accommodation Policy, and the associated Utility Accommodation Guidance. MDOT classifies utilities into three categories: municipal, public and private. The following guidelines provide criteria for determining whether a utility is considered municipal, public or private and its allowable use of state highway right of way.

    Municipal Utility

    A utility owned and operated by a government agency having corporate status and usually powers of self-government (city, township, village, etc.) is considered a municipal utility and may be allowed longitudinal and/or transverse use of state highway right of way.

    Public Utility

    A utility will be considered public provided they meet the following criteria as verified by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). Visit www.Michigan.gov/MPSC for more information. A public utility may be allowed longitudinal and/or transverse use of state highway right of way.

    • Broadband and Telecommunications: Required to be recognized by MPSC as either a competitive access provider (CAP), a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), an interexchange carrier (IXC), or, for broadband, provide retail service capable of transmitting data over an access line at a rate greater than 200 kilobits per second. These can be verified on the ITSP Registry.
    • Electricity: Required to be recognized by MPSC as an investor-owned or cooperative electric provider, as shown on the utility addresses and contacts list, or as an electric transmission company meeting certification requirement of Public Act 30 of 1995.
    • Natural Gas: Required to be either recognized by MPSC as a natural gas distribution company, as shown on the addresses and contacts list, certified by MPSC as a Public Act 9 of 1929 status intrastate pipeline, or certified by the federal government as an interstate pipeline, as shown on the interstate pipelines list.
    • Petroleum: Required to be either certified by MPSC as a Public Act 16 of 1929 status intrastate pipeline or certified by the federal government as an interstate pipeline.
    • Video/Cable: Required to be recognized by MPSC as a video/cable provider, as shown on the video/cable providers operating list in Michigan.

    Private Utility

    A utility not meeting the criteria as a municipal or public utility is considered a private utility and shall satisfy the following requirements for use of state highway right of way.

    • Longitudinal Occupancy: Requests for longitudinal occupancy of state highway right of way require the following:
    • A public interest statement, acceptable to MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, providing how the proposed utility will benefit the "common well-being" or "general welfare" of the public when placed within the state highway right of way.
    • Proof of unusual hardship. Not considered an unusual hardship are:
      • Increased construction costs.
      • Increased construction time and/or delays.
      • Increased complexity of the facility placement.
    • Transverse Crossing: Private utilities may be allowed a direct transverse crossing of state highway right of way.
  • Bridges: Pedestrian, Non-Motorized and Vehicular

    Structures: On-premise Signs, Non-motorized Paths, Bus Shelters, Landscape, Wind Turbine, Solar Panels, and Electrical Charging Stations

    Permit applications for the construction of structures, such as pedestrian bridges, grade separations, tunnels, or any other item that results in a structure over or under the state highway right of way, require a design review from MDOT.

    Applicants must submit an individual construction permit application package through Construction Permit System (CPS) with the following attachments:

    • A copy of the engineer's structural design calculations
    • Plans certified by a registered professional engineer
    • Other items as required to make a structural review such as a Geotechnical Report or structural details

    Additionally, the following special conditions for structures over state highways apply:

    • The permit applicant shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless MDOT for any claims whatsoever resulting from the construction, maintenance, or removal of the structure authorized by this permit, from any claims for injuries to or death of any and all persons, for the loss or damage of property, and from environmental damage degradation, response, and cleanup costs resulting from the construction or presence of the structure authorized by this permit.
    • A right-of-way airspace lease agreement shall be required by MDOT prior to the placement of the structure over the state trunkline right-of-way.
    • All structures serving the public within state trunkline right-of-way shall comply with the Americans with Disability Act of1992
    • The clear height of the structure’s under-clearance above the traveled roadway and road shoulders shall meet a minimum under-clearance distance of 18 feet.
    • An approved permit shall be required prior to the erection of any part of the structure.
  • In accordance with Public Act 200 of 1969, MDOT has the responsibility to regulate the construction of commercial and residential driveways within state highway right of way.

    Applicants must submit an individual permit application package through the Construction Permit System (CPS) with the following:

    A driveway constructed or reconstructed after August 6, 1969, is not lawful unless a permit has been obtained. Driveways constructed or reconstructed after June 30, 1970, which is the effective date of the rules promulgated pursuant to Public Act 200 of 1969, must comply with the administrative rules.

  • Applications may be received for a private utility facility to cross a state highway right of way at an intersection with a roadway under the jurisdiction of a local governmental agency, when the private utility facility parallels that roadway.

    Applicants must submit an individual permit application package through the Construction Permit System (CPS).

    If applicant is not a public utility or governmental agency and the activity is a private utility facility installation, applicants must attach Special Conditions for Private Utility-Type Facilities Transverse Crossings (Form 2254).

  • A permit from MDOT is required when a contractor would like to dispose of earth excavation materials or place a plant site within the state highway right of way.

    When this activity occurs within the limits of an MDOT construction project, a permit is not required. A contractor’s disposal or storage site that is outside the project limits requires a permit. The permit applicant shall ensure the MDOT job number is entered in the Construction Permit System (CPS) to eliminate fees.

  • Seismic exploration may be individually permitted by MDOT in free access right of way by using the drill method, blast method, or vibroseis method. No other method shall be allowed. Only temporary placement of cable crossings shall be permitted in limited access right of way. Seismic exploration may not be completed using an annual permit. Annual permits shall only be used for transverse cable crossings in free access right of way.

    Applicants must submit an individual permit application through the Construction Permit System (CPS) with the following:

    • Individual performance bond in the amount of $50,000; required for each permitted activity;
    • Certificate of Insurance;
    • Specific method of operation (including the minimum depth of hole); and
    • Letter from adjacent property owner with signature providing authorization when operations are proposed in easement right of way.
  • All requests for locating wireless telecommunication facilities on state properties and land shall be directed to the Telecommunications Service Manager (TSM). The TSM shall assist the carriers in completing applications, handling questions concerning antenna locations, and navigating the MDOT Permit Gateway.

    For more information, contact Joe Rios, statewide construction permit coordinator, at 517-241-2103.

    Small Cell Wireless Facility (SCWF)

    The Small Wireless Communications Facilities (SCWF) Deployment Act, being Act 365 of 2018, specifically Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 460.1301 thru 460.1339, provides that MDOT may, “Allow wireless services providers and wireless infrastructure providers access to the public rights-of-way and the ability to attach to poles and structures in the public rights-of-way to enhance their networks and provide next generation services.” Only small cell wireless facilities (SCWF) that occupy less than the maximum volumetric restrictions indicated in the law may be permitted.  MDOT prioritizes the use of existing utility poles and wireless support structures over any new pole or new wireless support structure.

    The following guidelines show SCWF owners how to apply for a MDOT permit when wanting to place a facility within MDOT right of way:

    Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act, being Act 365 of 2018, specifically Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 460.1301 thru 460.1339.

    PR Finder

    PR Finder is a tool used to identify if the route is a MDOT trunkline and locate the control sections (CS) for that route.  

    How to use the map:

    • Open PR Finder.
    • Zoom into the work area.
    • Click on the identify tab at the top of the map.
    • Click on PR/CS field.
    • Click on a road.
    • The control section will display in the box.

    Right of Way (ROW) Map

    The ROW map is a tool applicants can use to identify MDOT ROW.

    How to use the map:

    • Open ROW map
    • Select a county from the Title Sheet selection list.
    • Click the county of the work location.
    • Click on the circled number on the sheet.
    • A map will display the width of the MDOT ROW.

    Note: These are complex maps and drawings. For assistance, contact MDOT-ROW@Michigan.gov or call 517-599-6740.