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North Dakota State Highway Right-of-Way (3-ND-c)

In North Dakota, a developer must obtain a Utility Occupancy Permit (“Permit”) from the North Dakota Department of Transportation (“NDDOT”) before installing, replacing, or maintaining any utilities on a state highway right-of-way. NDDOT is given authority to issue such Permits pursuant to North Dakota Century Code § 24-01. More information can be found on the NDDOT Utility Occupancy Webpage.


State Highway Right-of-Way Process

3-ND-c.1 – Engage in Long Range Planning (Optional)

Prior to beginning the permitting process, a developer may choose to engage in long range planning with NDDOT. The purpose of this program is to promote early coordination between the developer and NDDOT on future highway projects that could affect utility facilities. NDDOT has created a State Transportation Improvement Plan that outlines future NDDOT project locations. The developer may review this document to determine if the developer’s project will be affected by any future NDDOT work. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions.

3-ND-c.2 – Draft Utility Occupancy Permit Application

The developer must submit an electronic draft of the Utility Occupancy Permit Application (“Application”), along with appropriate maps to NDDOT’s district office where the project is located. The Application must include:

  • A general description of the type, size and design of the proposed facility;
  • A written description of the proposed method of installation; and
  • At least two (2) drawings showing the proposed location of the utility facility in the highway right-of-way. These drawings must include plan dimensions of the proposed facility in relation to:
    • Right-of-way lines;
    • Centerlines of the roadway(s);
    • Access control fences; and
    • Highway structures.

NDDOT Utility Accommodation Policy.

NDDOT provides an example of a Completed Application for developers to reference. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions.

3-ND-c.3 to 3-ND-c.4 – Review and Comment on Draft Application

After receiving the draft Application, NDDOT reviews the draft Application and accompanying maps. The time it takes NDDOT to review the draft varies based upon the complexity of the proposed project. Upon reviewing the Application, NDDOT makes any changes it sees fit to the Application, and responds to the developer with these changes and additional guidance. The response from NDDOT must include:

  • A risk management index;
  • The type of insurance coverage needed;
  • A calculated fee amount. Fee amounts can be found in the NDDOT Utility Accommodation Policy;
  • Calculated reference points and offsets; and
  • Any additional supplemental terms and conditions.

NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions.

Additionally, NDDOT assigns the Application at least one appropriate tracking number; a RIMS (Roadway Information Management System) document number, contract number, or district tracking number. The remaining tracking numbers are assigned when the Permit is issued. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions.

3-ND-c.5 – Review NDDOT Comments and Changes

After receiving a response from NDDOT on the draft Application, the developer should review the comments, changes and any additional guidance NDDOT provides.

3-ND-c.6 – Obtain Appropriate Insurance

After receiving NDDOT’s response to the draft Application, the developer should obtain insurance consistent with the contract letter provided by NDDOT.

3-ND-c.7 – Utility Occupancy Permit Application

Once insurance has been obtained, and the developer agrees to the Application modifications made by NDDOT, the developer signs and returns a hard copy of the Application to NDDOT. The Application must be accompanied by a certificate of insurance as well as the fee prescribed by NDDOT. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions. The fee must be paid by cash or check. A developer’s Application typically will not be approved until the fee is paid.

3-ND-c.8 to 3-ND-c.9 – Review Permit Application

After receiving the final Application from the developer, NDDOT reviews the Application and the proposed project. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions. When reviewing the project, NDDOT is guided by, but not limited to, the following considerations:

  • Whether the proposed facility conflicts with an existing or planned use of the right-of-way; and
  • Whether the proposed facility would impair:
    • The highway itself;
    • Future highway improvements;
    • The free and safe flow of traffic; and
    • The scenic appearance of the highway.

NDDOT Utility Accommodation Policy.

3-ND-c.10 – Utility Occupancy Permit

If NDDOT approves the project, NDDOT signs and sends a copy of the Permit to the developer. The Permit grants the developer permission to begin construction on the project. NDDOT Utility Permit Instructions.

3-ND-c.11 – Appeal Decision

If NDDOT rejects the Application, the developer can request NDDOT to do an additional review of the Application, and/or submit a revised Application that addresses NDDOT’s concerns.


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Contact Information









Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Bismarck District Office (701) 328-6950 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Devils Lake District Office (701) 665-5100 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Dickinson District Office (701) 227-6500 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Fargo District Office (701) 239-8900 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Grand Forks District Office (701) 787-6500 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Minot District Office (701) 857-6925 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Valley City District Office (701) 845-8800 Visit Website


Edit North Dakota Department of Transportation
Williston District Office (701) 774-2700 Visit Website