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Maine State Highway Right-of-Way Overview (3-ME-c)

In Maine, a developer may need to obtain a State Highway Utility Location Permit and/or a State Highway Opening Permit from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to access a state or state-aid highway. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2502(1)(A). To determine whether a project falls under the MaineDOT’s jurisdiction, a developer can access s state highway maps using the MaineDOT Map Viewer Webpage. All MaineDOT utility location requirements are outlined in Maine Department of Transportation – Utility Accommodation Rules. MaineDOT also provides sample permit applications and supplemental information on their Location and Highway Opening Permits Webpage. MaineDOT retains the authority under Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2503 to promulgate rules and requirements in issuing state highway right-of-way permits. Maine Department of Transportation – Utility Accommodation Rules.


State Highway Right-of-Way Overview Process

3-ME-c.1 to 3-ME-c.2 – Does the Project Require Access to a City Street, Town Way, or State-Aid Highway in a Compact Area of a Compact Urban Municipality?

If the project requires access to a city street, town way, or state or state-aid highway in a compact area of a compact urban municipality, then the developer must obtain approval from the appropriate municipal authority. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2502(1)(B). MaineDOT may designate compact areas or built-up sections within compact urban municipalities. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, § 754(2)(A). Generally, an urban compact municipality is an area with a population that exceeds 7,500 inhabitants. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 23, § 754(2)(B).

If a project is located within a compact area, MaineDOT will only issue permits under the following conditions:

  • When facilities are proposed along a controlled access corridor (within the limits of an interstate or bypass); or
  • When facilities are proposed within 25 feet of a bridge or proposed bridge attachment.

All other local public ways are regulated by the county commissioners. Municipal public road and highway right-of-way processes and requirements vary by jurisdiction. Developers of projects under municipal jurisdiction should consider contacting the appropriate municipal authority prior to construction. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2502(1)(B).

In determining whether a project crosses a compact area of of a compact urban municipality, a developer can utilize the MaineDOT Map Viewer Webpage to access MaineDOT jurisdictional maps.

3-ME-c.3 to 3-ME-c.4 – Does the Project Encroach on a Public Right-of-Way?

“[E]very person making, generating, selling distributing and supplying…electricity…may not construct facilities upon and along highways and public roads without applying for and obtaining a written local permit” from the “applicable licensing authority.” Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2501; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2502(1). For the purposes of MaineDOT permitting rules and requirements, a “utility” includes those public utilities regulated by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, and other public or private persons or entities with facilities located within state public ways that distribute or supply electricity either to the general public or to regulated public utilities. 17-229-210 Me. Code R. § 4. A facility means, “if under the surface of the public way, pipes, cables and conduits, and if on or over the surface of the public way, poles, guys…cables, wires and any plant or equipment located on or over the surface of the public way. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 35-A, § 2502. Generally, a developer should initiate the State Highway Utility Location Permit process in the preliminary planning and design stages. For more information, see: State Highway Utility Location Permit:
3-ME-d

3-ME-c.5 to 3-ME-c.7 – Does the Project Require Excavation?

A developer may also need to obtain a Highway Opening Permit for any project that involves excavation, or “intentional displacement of earth, rock, or pavement surface within the limits of the [state] [h]ighway.” 17-229-210 Me. Code R. § (4), 17-229-210 Me. Code R. § (6)(1). For more information, see: State Highway Opening Permit:
3-ME-e


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