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Rhode Island State Highway/Railroad Utility Permit (3-RI-e)

In Rhode Island, a bulk transmission developer seeking to install transmission lines or facilities within a state highway or railroad right-of-way must file an Application for Utility Permit (Application) with the RIDOT Division of Maintenance. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.1; tit. 13 - ch.5 R.I. Code R. § 4.1.


State Highway/Railroad Utility Permit Process

3-RI-e.1 – Application for Utility Permit

A developer seeking to install transmission lines or facilities within a state highway or railroad right-of-way must file an Application for Utility Permit (Application) with the RIDOT Division of Maintenance. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.1; tit. 13 - ch.5 R.I. Code R. § 4.1.

A complete Application is signed by the developer and includes all required information and fees. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.1. At minimum, a complete Application must include:

  • The name and signature of the applicant (developer), utility owner, and performing contractor associated with the proposed project;
  • A description of the activities to be performed within the state highway right-of-way;
  • The location of the project; and
  • The purpose of the project.

Application for Utility Permit .

A complete Application must also be accompanied by three (3) sets of plans outlining all work to be completed, showing specific locations and dimensions, and a Transportation Management Plan (TMP). tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.2; Application for Utility Permit.

Additional regulatory guidance and sample TMP’s can be found on the RIDOT Contractors and Consultants Webpage.

Railroad Rights-of-Way

Applications for a Railroad Right-of-Way must also be “signed by a governmental agency or public utility agreeing to be responsible for all future maintenance of the facility.” tit. 13 - ch.5 R.I. Code R. § 4.1.

3-RI-e.2 to 3-RI-e.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

After the project developer has submitted an Application packet, RIDOT staff review the Application for administrative and technical completeness. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.3.

Transverse Installations

RIDOT only permits transverse installations of utility facilities when there are no prudent (practically reasonable), alternatives. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 3.2. If a project requires a transverse freeway crossing, where a facility crosses from one side of the freeway to another, the Chief Engineer reviews the Application and may grant or deny the Application after considering RIDOT recommendations. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.6(a).

Longitudinal Utility Installations

RIDOT only permits longitudinal installations of utility facilities when there are no feasible (economically reasonable), or prudent (practically reasonable) alternatives. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 3.3. If a project requires a longitudinal utility installation, where a facility is parallel to and within a highway right-of-way, the RIDOT Utility Advisory Committee reviews the Application and may recommend approval upon a majority vote in favor of the installation. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.6(b). Upon the Advisory Committee’s recommendation, the Chief engineer either authorizes approval or denies the Permit. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.6(b).

3-RI-e.4 – Negotiate Land Lease Agreement

As RIDOT reviews the Application, the developer must enter into an easement, lease, or license agreement with RIDOT. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.4. All lease agreements between an developer are subject to review and approval of the Rhode Island State Properties Committee pursuant to tit. 37 R.I. Gen. Laws § 7-8. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.10.

3-RI-e.5 to 3-RI-e.6 – Review Application for Approval

The RIDOT Chief Engineer issues a decision within 40 days of receiving a complete Application from the RIDOT Maintenance Division. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.8.

Railroad Right-of-Way

The RIDOT Chief Engineer issues a decision within 45 days of receiving a complete Railroad Right-of-Way Application from the RIDOT Maintenance Division. tit. 13 - ch.5 R.I. Code R. § 4.7.

3-RI-e.7 – Utility Permit

After RIDOT approves the developer’s Application, but prior to the developer initiating construction, a developer must obtain and submit sufficient bond, not less than 50% of the contract price to RIDOT. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.8; tit. 24 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-13.

The developer is also required to pay RIDOT fair compensation for land taken to construct utility facilities unless RIDOT waives the compensation requirement pursuant to tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 5.0. If compensation is required, it must be made in the form of a certified check or money order to the RIDOT. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 5.0.

As a condition of the Permit, the developer must indemnify the state of Rhode Island and its agents from suit. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 3.6.

Upon issuance of a Permit, a developer must maintain the surface of the roadway and other areas where work is performed for a period of at least two years after construction is completed. Application for Utility Permit. A developer must also maintain any road affected by construction and keep roads in a condition that safely and adequately accommodates traffic. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 3.8; Application for Utility Permit.

3-RI-e.8 to 3-RI-e.10 – Appeal Decision to RIDOT Director (If Applicable)

An developer dissatisfied with a RIDOT Chief Engineer permit decision may appeal the decision to the RIDOT Director. Once RIDOT issues its decision on the Application, an developer must file the appeal within 15 days. The appeal must be in writing and include a copy of the original decision. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.9. The RIDOT Director must issue a decision on the appeal within 35 days of receipt. tit. 13 - ch.2 R.I. Code R. § 4.9.

3-RI-e.11 – Appeal Decision to State Court (If Applicable)

If a developer is unsuccessful on administrative appeal, the developer may appeal the Director’s decision to Rhode Island superior court within 30 days after the developer receives notice of the agency’s final decision or decision on rehearing. tit. 24 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-36; tit. 42 R.I. Gen. Laws § 35-15.1.

Note: Following a superior court determination, a developer may appeal to the Rhode Island supreme court within 20 days from the date the superior court decision was entered. tit. 42 R.I. Gen. Laws § 35-16.


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