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New Hampshire State Highway Right-of-Way Overview (3-NH-c)

In New Hampshire, all public utilities must obtain a permit or license from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) prior to initiating construction of a utility installation within a state highway or railroad right-of-way N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:161. “Public utilities” are defined as “corporations, companies, associations, joint stock associations, partnerships, or persons…owning, operating, or managing any plant or equipment…for generation, transmission, or sale of electricity ultimately sold to the public.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 362:2.


State Highway Right-of-Way Overview Process

3-NH-c.1– Contact the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT)

At the outset of a project, the developer should contact NHDOT to determine what permits and licenses are required and whether the project is eligible for a permit exception.

3-NH-c.2 – Does the Developer Submit an Exception Request?

NHDOT may issue exceptions for state highway or railroad right-of-way permits upon a project developer demonstrating extreme hardship and/or unusual conditions. Utility Accommodation Manual, 11. If the developer submits an exception request proceed to 3-NH-c.12.


3-NH-c.3 to 3-NH-c.4 – Does the Project Cross a State Railroad Right-of-Way?

If a project crosses a state railroad right-of-way, a developer must request permission from the NHDOT Bureau of Rail and Transit prior to initiating construction. Utility Accommodation Manual, 75.

For more information, see: State Railroad Right-of-Way Use and Occupancy Agreement:
3-NH-f

3-NH-c.5 to 3-NH-c.6 – Does the Project Cross a State Highway?

Generally, if a project requires construction or installation of any “poles, structures, conduits, cables or wires in, under or across any [state] highway” a developer must obtain a permit or license from the NHDOT Commissioner prior to initiating construction. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:161. For more information, see:

State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit:
3-NH-d


3-NH-c.7 to 3-NH-c.8 – Does the Project Require an Excavation in a State Highway Right-of-Way?

Generally, if a project requires “excavation or disturbance of the shoulder, ditches, embankments, or the paved surface of a state maintained highway” a developer must obtain a permit from the NHDOT Commissioner or District Engineer prior to initiating construction. Utility Accommodation Manual, 66. For more information, see:

State Highway Excavation Permit:
3-NH-e

3-NH-c.9 to 3-NH-c.11 – Does the Project Require Installation of Utility Poles?

If a project requires erecting poles or other structures within a state highway right-of-way, the developer may need to petition the NHDOT for a Pole License prior to initiating construction. Utility Accommodation Manual, 69.For more information, see:

State Highway Pole License:
3-NH-g

3-NH-c.12 – Submit Exception Request

At the outset of the state highway or railroad right-of-way application process, a developer may submit an exception request to NHDOT accompanied by:

  • Supporting documentation demonstrating the difficult and unreasonably costly nature of the proposed project;
  • Supporting documentation demonstrating that the proposed utility “installation will not adversely affect the design, construction, stability, traffic safety, environmental commitments, maintenance, or operation of the highway and[/or] railroad;”
  • Design data;
  • Cost comparisons;
  • A plan of traffic control measures to be employed during installation;
  • Maintenance access details; and
  • Any other pertinent information NHDOT requires.

Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.

3-NH-c.13 to 3-NH-c.14 – Review Exception Request Materials for Completeness

State Highway Right-of-Way

The NHDOT Chief of Design Services and District Engineer review the exception request for administrative and technical completeness. Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.

State Railroad Right-of-Way

The NHDOT Chief of Design Services and Administrator of Bureau of Rail and Transit review the exception request for administrative and technical completeness. Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.

3-NH-c.15 to 3-NH-c.16 – Assess Exception Request for Approval

The appropriate NHDOT officials assess the exception request to determine whether sufficient documentation exists to grant an exception. Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.

In determining whether to grant an exception, NHDOT considers the following:

  • Whether any other utility location is extremely difficult and unreasonably costly to the utility consumer;
  • Whether the proposed utility installation will have an adverse affect on the design, construction, stability, traffic safety, environmental commitments, maintenance, or operation of the highway or railroad; and
  • Whether the developer has provided sufficient supporting design data, cost comparisons, traffic control measures to be employed during installation, maintenance access details, and any other pertinent information as may be required by the Department.

Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.

3-NH-c.17 to 3-NH-c.18 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

A developer has the right to appeal an adverse finding to the NHDOT Commissioner. To appeal an adverse exception request determination, a developer must submit a letter detailing the circumstances of the exception request to the NHDOT Commissioner. Utility Accommodation Manual, 11.


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Contact Information









Edit New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Chief of Design Services - Highway Design - Project Development 603-271-2171 melodieabbazabbaesterburg@dotabbazabbanhabbazabbagov Visit Website