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Texas Public Highway Utility Accommodation Permit (3-TX-h)

Information current as of 2020
In Texas, a public or private utility (developer) may need a Public Highway Utility Accommodation Permit (Permit) from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)to operate, construct, and maintain transmission lines before constructing a utility facility over, under, across, on, or along a state highway right-of-way. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.36. A public utility includes any "person, firm, corporation, river authority, municipality, or other political subdivision that is engaged in the business of transporting or disturbing a utility product and that is authorized by state law to operate, construct, and maintain its facilities over, under, across, on, or along highways." 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.31(40). A private utility includes any "person, firm, corporation, or other entity engaged in a utility business other than a public utility or saltwater pipeline operator." 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.31(39). A public or private utility (developer) may need a Permit for the following:
  • New utility installations;
  • Additions to or maintenance of existing utility installations;
  • Adjustments or relocations of utilities; and
  • Existing utility installations retained within the right of way. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.33(a).

A private utility may only construct a utility facility over, under, or across a state highway right-of-way and may not place a utility facility longitudinally on a highway right-of-way. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.36.


The TxDOT regulates the installation of public and private utilities within state rights-of-way pursuant to 43 Tex. Admin. Code §§ 21.1-21.972.



Public Highway Utility Accommodation Permit Process


3-TX-h.1 – Request for Utility Accommodation

The developer must submit a request to the TxDOT for Utility Accommodation. The appropriate request document is provided on TxDOT’s Right-of-Way Forms webpage.

3-TX-h.2 – Review Request for Utility Accommodation

TxDOT will review the request for Utility Accommodation to determine whether the developer’s project will comply with TxDOT design and maintenance requirements. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.37. TxDOT must investigate the request to determine whether the project will jeopardize the public’s safety, convenience, or investment in the highway facility and whether it offers an impediment to the design, construction, operation, or maintenance of the highway facility. Certification for Utility Accommodation Form. The developer may request an exception to specific design and monitoring requirements pursuant to 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.35. The developer must show that extreme hardship or unusual conditions provide justification for the exception. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.35(b).

3-TX-h.3 – Does TxDOT Approve the Request?

TxDOT may approve or deny a request for Utility Accommodation based on their investigation of the proposed project.

3-TX-h.4 to 3-TX-h.6 – Petition for Appeal of Denial of Request for Utility Accommodation

The developer may appeal the denial of their request for utility accommodation. The developer has the burden of demonstrating that TxDOT incorrectly applied its utility accommodation requirements to the applicable facts. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.42(d). The petition for appeal must:

  • Be in writing;
  • Completely and succinctly state the grounds for appeals and its factual basis; and
  • Include sufficient factual documentation, such as drawings, surveys, or photographs, to establish the merits of the appeal. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.42(c).

3-TX-h.7 – Use and Occupancy Agreement

The developer and TxDOT will complete a Use and Occupancy Agreement. The Use and Occupancy Agreement is a written document by which TxDOT approves the use and occupancy of a highway right of way by a utility facility. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.31(48).

3-TX-h.8 – Comply with TxDOT Utility Installation Requirements

TxDOT outlines specific requirements for installation and maintenance of utility facilities within rights of way in 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.38. For example, the developer is responsible and accountable for preserving the safety of the traveling public and the public’s investment in the highway facility. 43 Tex. Admin. Code § 21.38(a)(3).


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