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New Hampshire State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit (3-NH-d)

Information current as of 2020
In New Hampshire, a developer may need a State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) Commissioner before installing or constructing any “poles, structures, conduits, cables, or wires in, under or across any [state] highway.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:161.

State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit Process

3-NH-d.1 to 3-NH-d.3 – Utility Encroachment Permit Application

The developer must submit a complete State Highway Utility Encroachment Application (“Application”) to NHDOT. An Application must include, at minimum:

  • A description of the size, type, capacity, nature, and extent of the utility installation;
  • Plans, drawings, or dimensioned sketches showing the proposed location;
  • The developer contact information; and
  • A Traffic Control Plan, subject to approval by NHDOT.

A developer must submit two (2) sets of plans, along with a complete description of proposed changes to or installation of utility facilities to the NHDOT District Engineer. Utility Accommodation Manual, 57.

The developer must submit all required Application materials a minimum of 30 days in advance of the proposed work. Utility Accommodation Manual, 57.

NHDOT recommends that a developer use Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) if a project requires placing a new utility installation within an existing roadway. Utility Accommodation Manual, 59. For more information on the SUE process, see: Subsurface Utility Engineering Webpage.

Limited-Access Right-of-Way

If a proposed project is located within a Limited-Access Right-of-Way (LAROW) of a state highway, the developer must submit four (4) sets of plans to the NHDOT District Engineer. A LAROW is a right-of-way “where the right of ingress or egress is not allowed, except at connections to other public highways.” Utiility Accommodation Manual, 15. The developer must submit the Application for construction within a LAROW a minimum of 60 days in advance of any proposed work. Utiility Accommodation Manual, 58.

Generally, new longitudinal facilities are not permitted within a LAROW unless the NHDOT Commissioner authorizes a special case exception. Utility Accommodation Manual, 48-49. A longitudinal facility is a facility parallel to or within a highway right-of-way. In addition to meeting the Application requirements, a developer seeking to construct a longitudinal installation within a LAROW must demonstrate:

  • That the developer, utility, and/or consumer would suffer an extreme hardship if the Commissioner did not approve the longitudinal installation;
  • The accommodation will not adversely affect the safety, design, construction, operation, maintenance, or stability of the freeway;
  • That alternate locations are not reasonably available;
  • That disapproval of the use of the right-of-way would negatively impact associated agricultural land; and
  • That the project meets access requirements.

Utility Accommodation Manual, 49-50.

3-NH-d.4 to 3-NH-d.7 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The NHDOT District Engineer reviews the Application for administrative and technical completeness. Utility Accommodation Manual, 57.

Limited-Access Right-of-Way

The NHDOT District Office or Bureau of Turnpikes reviews the Application and sends two (2) sets of the complete Application package along with comments to the NHDOT Chief of Design Services. Utility Accommodation Manual, 58.

3-NH-d.8 to 3-NH-d.10 – Review Application for Approval

NHDOT must review the Application for approval and make a final decision on the Application within six (6) months of receipt. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:164. Upon issuing a decision approving an Application, NHDOT must forward the State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit (“Permit”) to the “clerk of the city or town in which the poles, structures, conduits, cables, or wires are located.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:164. The applicant (developer) is liable for municipal recording fees. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:165.

3-NH-d.11 – State Highway Utility Encroachment Permit

A Permit must at minimum, include:

  • Requirements for location, construction, restoration, protection of traffic, maintenance or access restrictions, and applicable special conditions;
  • A statement defining the liability and responsibility associated with future adjustments; and
  • The responsible NHDOT person to be contacted in case of emergency.

Utility Accommodation Manual, 58.

A developer must indemnify the State of New Hampshire and NDHOT from any damages resulting from constructing facilities within a state highway right-of-way. Utility Accommodation Manual, 78.

3-NH-d.12 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

Any person impacted by an NHDOT determination may file an appeal in New Hampshire superior court within 60 days following NHDOT issuing its determination. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 231:166.

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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