Florida State Highway Right-of-Way (3-FL-c)
FDOT has the responsibility to coordinate the “planning of a safe, viable, and balanced State transportation system serving all regions of the state, and to assure the compatibility of all components” as well as the authority to grant the use of rights-of-way for a utility. Fla. Stat. § 334.044(1); Fla. Stat. § 337.401(2).
FDOT has the authority, “jurisdiction and control…to prescribe and enforce reasonable rules or regulations with reference to the placing and maintaining across, on, or within the right-of-way limits of any road or publicly owned rail corridors under their respective jurisdictions…any structures referred to as the utility.” [[Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 337.401 et seq., Contracting, Acquisition, Disposal and Use of Property|Fla. Stat. §§ 337.401(1)]]. FDOT’s procedures and criteria for the accommodation of utilities within rights-of-way are set forth in the FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual (2017).
State Highway Right-of-Way Process
3-FL-c.1 to 3-FL-c.2 – Does an Exception Apply?
An applicant (developer) does not need to apply for a new Utility Permit, if the work to be performed is one of the following work types for which they have been previously issued a Utility Permit:
- Emergency repairs that follow from situations of a “serious nature…demanding immediate action that will affect public safety, disruption of utility service, or damage to the FDOT right-of-way, the [developer] shall proceed immediately with all necessary actions.” FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual §§ 2.2, 3.1.
- Placing service poles that comply with utility offsets prescribed in Utility Accommodation Manual’s Section 3.14.4;
- Placing underground service lines, perpendicular to the roadway, that comply with FDOT’s Service Connection Point; FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual §§ 2.2, 3.16.7;
- Any temporary utility work approved by the FDOT Resident/Project Engineer during FDOT; construction projects that are in follow an approved utility work schedule. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.2.
- Maintenance, replacement, alterations or additions of aerial components on existing pole lines;
- Maintenance, alterations, but not the replacement, of existing underground utilities;
- Placement or removal of utilities within existing conduits, provided no additional pull-boxes or other utility appurtenances are installed;
- Installing technology, provided no excavation is performed, for the exclusive purpose of operating, measuring, maintaining and/or monitoring the permitted utility;
- Controlling the vegetation in compliance with FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 3.18;
- Potholing for physical exposure of underground utilities in compliance with FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.1(9);
- Replacing existing permitted lines with new lines that are as close to the original alignment as possible and complies with the utility offset prescribed in UAM Section 3.14.4. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual §§ 2.3, 3.14.4.
3-FL-c.3 – Contact Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Permit Office (Optional)
A developer may contact the FDOT District Permit Office for specific permit requirements. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual p.1 .
3-FL-c.4 – Initiate Transmission Siting Certification
Prior to submitting a Utility Permit Application, the developer must first obtain a Transmission Siting Certification from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“FDEP”) to install or adjust a utility within the FDOT right-of-way. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.5. For more information, see:
3-FL-c.5 – Utility Permit Application
A developer must submit a complete Utility Permit Application (“Application”), through the One-Stop Permitting (“OSP”) website. However, if the developer lacks access to the permitting website or the location of the utility work is not included on the OSP website, the developer must submit a hardcopy of the Application to FDOT. The hardcopy application should include all material that is required of the online application, including a key map illustrating the proposed installation’s location, the approximate distance and direction from the proposed work area to the nearest town, major road intersection, railroad crossing or bridge.
The Application must include, at minimum, the following:
- The FDEP Transmission Siting Certification to install or adjust utilities within the right-of-way;
- Copies of any existing applicable permits for erosion control;
- Plan view drawings;
- A traffic control plan that complies with series 600 indexes of the FDOT Design Standards, or a plan that is signed and sealed by a qualified, licensed Florida professional engineer with an FDOT Advanced Maintenance of Traffic Certification;
- A landscaped vegetation replacement plan;
- If within FDOT rail corridors, a completed standard railroad Application;
- Any required waivers, variances or approvals necessary for the permit to be approved
- If there are any open trenching, pavement cuts, or water line conflicts, justification and drawings showing proper replacement of the roadway;
- If the utility work involves aboveground crossings of an operational limited access right-of-way between interchanges, a list of any other anticipated crossings;
- No more than six (6) photographs documenting work area conditions prior to the utility work as requested by the Local Maintenance Engineer, unless the Local Maintenance Engineer waives the requirement;
- Make known any provisions of the Utility Accommodation Manual or the utility permit that are modifier, or made unenforceable by existing easements, subordination agreements, or other legal requirements;
- Plans and specifications must be signed and sealed for any proposed attachments to structures, including a bridge load rating analysis where attachments affect the bridge’s carrying capacity; and
- Manufacturer’s certifications of proposed underground appurtenances manufactured offsite such as manholes, splice boxes or vaults that are greater than eighty (80) cubic feet and comply with the industry standard for the intended use.
It is preferred that plan view drawings are scaled to size. Further, these plan view drawings must indicate:
- Any substantial physical features, including wetlands or bodies of water, and vegetation;
- Limitations of the work area. This includes features such as staging areas or access points;
- The right-of-way lines, limited access lines, and the developer’s easement lines;
- The maximum allowable operating pressures of proposed gas mains and locations of proposed shut-off valves;
- Any aboveground and underground features within the work area. This includes features such as exiting utility poles and drainage pipes;
- If the project requires trenchless installations, the plan view drawing must illustrate the proposed method of installation, materials, function, type, size of proposed installation and bore diameter;
- The drawing must indicate if the proposed project is within a FDOT project, has a tie to project stationing or a tie to roadway mileposts;
- All proposed utility and proposed appurtenances with the exception of appurtenances mounted at least fifteen (15) fee above the ground and less than (8) cubic feet, must be indicated; and
- The horizontal distance from the proposed utility to a well-defined feature of the transportation facility, such as the edge of travel lane, must be indicated on the plan view drawing.
Lastly, if the utility project includes the installation of underground utilities, the Application requires that the developer provide profile view drawings illustrating the following elements:
- Benchmark information;
- The proposed utility’s depth below the top of the pavement or existing unpaved ground;
- A cross-sectional view illustrating one (1) or more typical cross sections to adequately reflect the proposed installation’s location;
- The confining layer or top of water table for trenchless installations and comply with UAM Section 126.96.36.199 whereby all identified drilling fluids to be used are certified by the developer that they are environmentally safe, and not harmful or corrosive to any of the underground facilities along the bore path; and
- Horizontal and vertical location of all existing underground facilities such as utilities, drainage pipes, or ITS lines within the proposed work area as can reasonably be obtained by a review of existing records and a topographical survey of aboveground features.
3-FL-c.6 to 3-FL-c.7 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
Within 30 days upon receipt, FDOT reviews the Utility Permit Application materials for administrative and technical completeness, and compliance with the Utility Accommodation Manual. Fla. Stat. § 120.60.
If the Application is lacking, FDOT notifies the developer of any errors or omissions and requests additional information. Fla. Stat. § 120.60.
An Application is deemed complete upon “receipt of all requested information and correction of any error or omission for which the applicant was timely notified or when the time for such notification has expired” and must be approved or denied, through written notice personally, by mail, or online through the OSP portal, within 90 days after receipt of a completed Application. Fla. Stat. § 120.60(1).
3-FL-c.8 to 3-FL-c.9 – Review Application Materials for Approval
FDOT must review the Application materials for approval. FDOT will evaluate the level of impact the proposed project has on:
- Public safety;
- FDOT’s “Five-Year Work Program”;
- Safety improvement projects;
- scenic enhancement projects;
- Landscape vegetation;
- Trees within the right-of-way;
- Local events and easements;
- Easements and agreements;
- Placement of future utilities; and
- Over-dimensional vehicle permits.
The Chief Engineer reviews the Utility Permit Application for impacts to all plans and programs developed by FDOT Fla. Stat. § 339.177 and, either the construction or extension of the utility is subject to the authorization of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), or the abandonment of the utility is subject to the permission and approval of the FERC. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.6.
If FDOT denies the Utility Permit, FDOT is required to submit a letter to the developer explaining the reason for denial. Fla. Stat. § 120.60(3).
If FDOT grants the Utility Permit, FDOT is required to submit a letter to the developer explaining the terms and conditions associated with the granting of the Permit. Fla. Stat. § 120.60(3).
3-FL-c.10 – Utility Permit
The developer must comply with all conditions of the Utility Permit and is bound by all requirements upon commencement of the permitted work. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.9.
3-FL-c.11 – Provide Notice
The developer must provide notice to all owners of other facilities within the work areas known to be involved or potentially impacted by the proposed work detailing the location and scope of work. Further, they must give notice that any objections must be made in writing to the Local Maintenance Engineer within ten (10) business days from the time of receipt of notification. FDOT, Utility Accommodation Manual § 2.8.
3-FL-c.12 – Appeal Decision (Optional)
A developer or interested party, such as owners of other facilities within the work areas known to be involved or potentially impacted by the proposed work, may appeal FDOT’s decision to deny the Application or the conditions upon the issuance of a Utility Permit, within 30 days after FDOT issues the decision. Fla. Stat. § 120.68(2)(a); Fla. R. App. P. 9.190(b).
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- Florida – Fla. Stat. §§ 403.52 et seq., Florida Electric Transmission Line Siting Act
- Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 339.035 et seq., Transportation Finance and Planning
- Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 337.401 et seq., Contracting, Acquisition, Disposal and Use of Property
- Florida - Fla. Code. Ann. § 14-46.001 (2017)
- Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 334.01, Transportation Administration
- Florida — Fla. Stat. §§ 120.50 et seq., Administrative Procedure Act
- Florida — Fla. R. App. P. §§ 9.190 et seq., Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure