Virginia State Highway Right-of-Way Overview (3-VA-c)
A “utility,” for purposes of state highway right-of-ways, is defined as a “privately, publically or cooperatively owned line, facility, or system for producing, transmitting, or distributing…electricity.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-10. Real property includes “the right-of-way of any highway in any highway in the state highways system.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-20. Work of any nature includes “any type of utility activity occurring within the right-of-way.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30.The VDOT regulates state highway right-of-ways pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 33.2-210; Virginia – tit. 24 Va. Admin Code et seq., Transportation and Motor Vehicles.
State Highway Right-of-Way Overview Process
3-VA-c.1 – Contact Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
Prior to initiating construction, a developer should contact VDOT to determine what permits and requirements are applicable. Generally, utilities may need Districtwide Permits, Single Use Utility Installations Permit, and/ or Permit Agreement. tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30. Districtwide Permits allow the developer “to perform multiple occurrences of certain activities on a nonlimited access right-of-way without obtaining a single use permit for each occurrence.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30. Single Use Utility Installations Permits allow the developer “to perform approved activities within limited access and non-limited access rights-of-way at a specific location.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30(B).
3-VA-c.2 to 3-VA-c.3 – Does the Project Require Installation and Maintenance to Existing Main Line Facilities?
If a project requires a developer to “install and maintain service connections to…existing main line facilities” then the developer may need to obtain a Districtwide Permit prior to initiating construction. tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30(C). For more information, see the following:
3-VA-c.4 to 3-VA-c.5 – Does the Project Require Installation of New Utility Facilities?
If a project requires installing new utilities on non-limited or limited access state maintained highways, then a developer may need a Single Use Utility Installations Permit from VDOT prior to initiating construction. Generally, a Single Use Utility Installations Permit is required for:
- Utility service line that exceeds 500 feet;
- Cutting highway pavement or shoulders, or both, to locate underground utilities;
- Working within the highway travel lane on a nonemergency basis;
- Installing electrical lines that exceed 34.5 kV;
- Installing new poles, anchors, or parallel lines to existing utilities where such installation necessitates disturbance to the pavement, shoulder, or ditch line; and
- Installing underground power service connections or laterals where the roadway or ditch lines are to be disturbed.
tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30(C)(1)(b); Virginia – Virginia Department of Transportation Land Use Permit Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information, see the following:
Single Use Utility Installations Permit:
3-VA-c.6 to 3-VA-c.8 – Does the Project Require Any New Longitudinal Occupancy or Perpendicular Crossing of a Limited Access Right-of-Way?
If the project requires any new longitudinal occupancy or perpendicular crossing of a limited access right-of-way, then the developer must enter into a Permit Agreement with VDOT prior to initiating construction. A “longitudinal installation” is defined as “any utility facility installed parallel to the centerline of the roadway or at a skew of less than 60 degrees to the roadway centerline.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-10. A “perpendicular crossing” is defined as “any utility facility that is installed across the roadway, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the roadway.” A “limited access highway” is a highway especially designed for through traffic over which abutters have no easement.” tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-10. All permit agreements must specify the terms and conditions required in conjunction with work performed within the right-of-way and payment information. tit. 24 Va. Admin Code 30-151-30.
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