RAPID/Roadmap/3-SC-c

From Open Energy Information

< RAPID‎ | Roadmap

RAPIDRegulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit
My Projects

South Carolina State Highway Right-of-Way (3-SC-c)

In South Carolina, a developer may need an Encroachment Permit and/or a Utility Agreement from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (“SCDOT”) to “construct, alter or relocate any utility installation” on a state road. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 1.1.2. No person may “construct, alter or relocate any utility installation” on a state road without prior written authorization from SCDOT. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 1.1.2.

Specifically, a public utility may need an Encroachment Permit and/or a Utility Agreement to install a utility or perform any work on a state highway right-of-way. A public utility is defined as “any organization, corporation, municipality, county, authority or other association providing any type of utility service to the general public for compensation and that is subject to South Carolina state law.” SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 1.3; S.C. Code Ann. § 58-5-10.

SCDOT’s functions and purposes include the “systematic planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of the state highway system,” with specific responsibilities that: “(1) lay out, build, and maintain public highways and bridges, including the exclusive authority to establish design criteria, construction specifications, and standards required to construct and maintain highways and bridges; and (2) acquire such lands, road building materials, and rights-of-way as may be needed for roads and bridges by purchase, gift, or condemnation.” S.C. Code Ann. § 57-1-30; S.C. Code Ann. § 57-3-110.

SCDOT’s procedures and criteria for the accommodation of utility installations within state rights-of-way are set for in the SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011).


State Highway Right-of-Way Process

3-SC-c.1 – Does the Developer have Prior Rights to the Land?

A developer needs a Utility Agreement from SCDOT for all construction projects where the utility (developer) demonstrates they have prior rights to the project land. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.1. A prior right is where the utility occupies a strip of land by fee simple title, easement, or other legal means. The utility (developer) must prove their claim of rights by supplying a document (Utility Agreement) that clearly shows the utility’s rights predates SCDOT’s right-of-way acquisition. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 1.3.

3-SC-c.2 – Utility Agreement Form (Form 3068-A)

If a Utility Agreement is required, the developer must submit a complete a Utility Agreement Form (Form 3068-A) to SCDOT. The Utility Agreement Form must include proof of the developer’s rights in the form of a copy of any easements, deeds or plat information and any additional documentation supporting prescriptive rights. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.2 Additionally, the developer must provide prior rights information for each landowner on both sides of the roadway where the proposed project is intended to intersect. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.4.

The developer must submit two original copies of the completed Utility Agreement Form to SCDOT with the accompanying relocation sketches indicated SCDOT station numbers, existing facilities, proposed facilities, a detailed estimate with a detailed list of facilities to be removed and facilities to be installed. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.6.

3-SC-c.3 to 3-SC-c.5 – Review Utility Agreement Form for Approval

The Assistant Director of Rights-of-Way for Utilities and Railroads reviews the Utility Agreement Form for approval. Utility Agreement Form (Form 3068-A); SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.6.

3-SC-c.6 to 3-SC-c.7 – Does the Project Require that Poles Encroach on a Right-of-Way?

A utility (developer) needs both a Utility Agreement and Encroachment Permit if they have both prior rights to the land and poles that encroach on a state highway right-of-way. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 14.1.1.

3-SC-c.8 to 3-SC-c.9 – Does an Encroachment Permit Exception Apply?

A developer does not need to apply for an Encroachment Permit, if the work to be performed is one of the following three work types: overhead installation, underground installation, or maintenance. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.4.

  • Overhead Installation: An Encroachment Permit is not required for aerial service connection from an existing distribution line on SCDOT’s right-of-way. However, if it is anticipated that there will be an interference with the normal flow of vehicular traffic on or along the highway or when replacing an existing pole, a permit will be required. Also, any new pole installations are not exempted and require an Encroachment Permit. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.5.
  • Underground Installation: An Encroachment Permit is not required for a service connection from a distribution line on SCDOT’s right-of-way where installation does not require excavation closer than five (5) feet to the paved roadway on a primary or a secondary road with a high volume of traffic, or where there is to be no excavation closer than three (3) feet to the paved roadway on secondary roads with a low volume of traffic.

A primary road is part of the state highway primary system which consists of a “connected system of principal state highways, not to exceed ten thousand miles, connecting centers of population.” S.C. Code Ann. § 58-5-30 A secondary road is part of the state highway secondary system which consists of “all roads, streets and highways in the state highway system not otherwise designated as highways in the interstate system or the state highway primary system.” S.C. Code Ann. § 58-5-40.

However, any underground installation that is anticipated to involve undue interference with the normal flow of vehicular traffic, drainage facilities or appurtenances, or a roadway crossing will be required, an Encroachment Permit is necessary. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.6.

  • Maintenance: An Encroachment Permit is not required for normal maintenance such as the replacement of existing poles, cables, pedestals, and markers. However, if a maintenance activity will interfere with the normal traffic flow or the maintenance activities require relocation of the existing utility. For emergency repairs, an Encroachment Permit Application is required to be submitted within 48 hours of the repair and the utility company is required to notify the Resident Maintenance Engineer as soon as possible. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.7.

3-SC-c.10 – Application for Encroachment Permit

A developer must submit a completed Application for Encroachment Permit (Form 637) (“Application”) to SCDOT via SCDOT’s electronic Encroachment Permit Process System (EPPS). The electronic EPPS accepts, processes, and manages permit requests and issues Encroachment Permits.

The electronic Application requires that the developer include the following:

  • A site plan;
  • Contact information;
  • A concise description of the proposed project and work to be performed; and
  • A plan view showing a north arrow, the pavement width, the ditch line, the controlled access line if applicable, distance from the nearest intersecting road, the right-of-way lines and the location of the work to be performed.

The developer may can also submit a completed hard copy of the Application to the local Resident Maintenance Engineer, who in turn, submits the additional copy of the Application to either the District Engineer Administrator or the Deputy Secretary of Engineering. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.3.

If a developer submits a hard copy of the Application they must submit two original copies of the Application, all supporting documentation and five copies of accompanying sketches. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.2.1.

Specifically, the supporting documentation must include the following:

  • A concise description of the proposed project and work to be performed; and
  • A plan view showing a north arrow, the pavement width, the ditch line, the controlled access line if applicable, distance from the nearest intersecting road, the right-of-way lines and the location of the work to be performed.

SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.2.2.

3-SC-c.11 to 3-SC-c.13 – Review Application Materials for Approval

Depending on whether the Application is within the local Resident Maintenance Engineer’s scope of authority, it will either be reviewed by:

  • The local Resident Maintenance Engineer and the District Engineer Administrator; or *Exclusively the District Engineer Administrator; or
  • Exclusively the Deputy Secretary of Engineering.

SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.3.

Once the Application has been approved and signed by both the developer and the Deputy Secretary of Engineering or his designee, it is considered approved. One original copy of the Encroachment Permit is retained by the applicant (developer) and the other is held by the Resident Maintenance Engineer, and a copy is held by the Utilities Office General File in Columbia, South Carolina. SCDOT Utility Accommodation Manual (2011) § 15.3.

3-SC-a.14 – Appeal Decision (Optional)

A developer or an interested party, such as owners of other facilities within the work areas known to be involved or potentially impacted by the proposed work, may appeal SCDOT’s decision on a Utility Agreement Form or Application for Encroachment Permit for judicial review, within 30 days of the decision’s issuance. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380. An interested party is required to file a notice of appeal in the South Carolina Appellate Court and serve the notice upon the agency and all parties of the record. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(1).

The court will not substitute its own judgment for that of the agency when weighing the evidence on questions of fact. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5). Judicial review of the agency decision may provide the following, affirm SCDOT’s decision, remand the case for further proceedings, reverse the decision or modify the decision.

Should the South Carolina Appellate Court reverse or modify SCDOT’s decision, it is based on one or more of the following findings:

  • The substantial rights of the appellant were prejudiced or the administrative findings;
  • Inferences, conclusions, or decisions violated constitutional or statutory provision;
  • made upon unlawful procedure;
  • affected by other error of law;
  • Clearly erroneous in light of probative, substantial evidence on the record; or
  • Were arbitrary or capricious or characterized by an abuse of discretion.

S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5)(a)-(f).


Add to Project

Contact Information









Edit South Carolina Department of Transportation
Receptionist 803-737-1688 moreyss@scdotabbazabbaorg