17-229 C.M.R. ch. 210, § 6 - HIGHWAY OPENING PERMITS

Current through 2022-14, April 6, 2022

1. Highway Opening Permits Required

A person, entity or Utility may not perform an Excavation within the limits of a state or state-aid Highway without applying for and obtaining a Highway Opening Permit, except as otherwise specified below. Any person, entity or Utility that performs an excavation without obtaining a permit in accordance with these rules shall pay the full Impact Value of the excavated area within the Highway limits.

A. Highway Opening Permit Not Required

A Highway Opening Permit is not required in the following circumstances:

(1) Installation of Utility Poles that are in compliance with this rule
(2) Installation of Facilities authorized as part of a MaineDOT Project
(3) Installation of Facilities authorized through a MaineDOT Traffic Movement Permit and associated agreement
(4) Emergency repair of Facilities that present an immediate hazard or are needed to restore utility service, providing after-the-fact permitting occurs within 3 working days.
B. Location Permits

Applicants are advised that, depending upon the type of installation proposed, a separate Location Permit as described in the previous Section 5 , Location Permits, may also be required.

2. Application Process

This Section outlines the application procedures for Highway Opening Permits on all Highways and Bridges for which the Maine Department of Transportation is the Licensing Authority [ 35-A MRS§2501 ]. MaineDOT reserves the right to require additional information on any applications as necessary. All applications shall be made on the most current forms supplied by the MaineDOT through any of its Region offices or from the MaineDOT website.

A. Submission Requirements

To obtain a Highway Opening Permit, a completed application including each of the components listed below, must be submitted to the applicable MaineDOT Region office.

(1) Completed Application Form(s)

A blank application form is available on MaineDOT's website. Applications shall provide the following information:

(a) Applicant Information: The name and contact information of the applicant.
(b) Primary Contact Information: The name and contact information of a designated primary contact, if not the same as the applicant.
(c) Proposed Work Information: The location details, purpose and type of work being proposed; the schedule of work; the name of the contractor that will be used; whether a Funding Agency Addendum is applicable; and, the level of coordination that has occurred with other nearby utilities.

Steel plates will not normally be authorized to cover trench excavations within or adjacent to the travel lanes, however, in instances where steel plates may be specifically permitted, a sketch plan stamped by a licensed professional engineer shall be provided. The sketch shall provide detailed dimensions of the maximum allowable excavation, any shoring or trench box requirements, minimum steel cover plate thickness, length and width, and any other construction element necessary to provide a covered trench that is safe for the traveling public.

(d) Impact & Fee Information: The estimated amount and type of area to be impacted, in addition to the associated Impact Value and fee.
(e) Applicant's signature: The applicant must sign the application. Any person signing on behalf of the applicant must provide evidence of authorization to sign.
(2) Specific Location Plan(s)

The Specific Location Plan (Aka "Sketch Plan") shall be as defined in Section 4, Definitions and as described in Section 5(2)(A)(1)(b), Specific Location Plans.If the proposed work requires a Location Permit, the same Specific Location Plan may be used.

(3) General Location Map

The application must provide an accurate area map. Examples include MaineDOT Map Viewer plan available on the MaineDOT website, MaineDOT Highway plan or U.S.G.S. quadrangle.

(4 ) Traffic Control Plan

Any work proposed within the limits of a Freeway shall include a Traffic Control Plan as defined in Section 4, Definitions. Specific requirements are further described within Section 7(7)(B) , Freeways. In addition, MaineDOT may require a Traffic Control Plan for any other specific corridor where the type of work, timing of work, or corridor conditions create a higher level of concern for mobility or safety.

(5) Permit Fee

Every application shall be accompanied by a check in the amount of 10% of the estimated Impact Value (the "Permit Fee"). The check shall be made out to "Treasurer, State of Maine" and is non-refundable. If the actual work accomplished has impacted an area that is different from the area used to arrive at the estimated amounts, the fee will be adjusted accordingly and the permittee will either be billed for or refunded the difference. In general, there is no Permit Fee if an installation is made immediately before or during a MaineDOT Project that significantly improves the highway (for example, a rehabilitation project, reconstruction project or other project as determined by MaineDOT in its sole discretion).

(6) Special Opening Permit

In instances where the area of the work exceeds the estimated Impact Value limits specified in the Highway Opening Application, application shall also be made for a Special Opening Permit. Under this Special Opening Permit, a method of Financial Assurance, as requested by the applicant and approved by MaineDOT, shall be established and the 10% Permit Fee will either be provided up front (in the case of a Letter of Credit or Surety Bond) or will be withheld from the final account close-out (in the case of an Escrow Account). The use of a Surety Bond may be limited or restricted by MaineDOT, depending upon the applicant's prior history of Highway Openings with MaineDOT or the nature of the work involved. The Financial Assurance will be held until one year after satisfactory completion of work. A Special Opening Permit will not be required when an applicant is authorized to utilize the Funding Agency Addendum.

B. Processing

The permit application package shall be submitted to MaineDOT at the address provided on the application form. The application will be reviewed with primary consideration given to the standards defined within this rule; however, specific site conditions, proposed work in the same General Location, public comments, or other concerns of MaineDOT may also affect the terms and conditions of the permit. Permits will normally be processed within 30 Days of receipt of a complete application package.

3. Pavement Moratorium

Highway Opening Applications that propose to impact the travel lanes of any recently repaved, rehabilitated, or reconstructed Highway will normally be denied within the time frames specified below:

A. Light Capital Paving (LCP):No moratorium.
B. All other paving overlays of 5/8 inch or more or any "mill and fill" project: 3 years C. Any construction work of higher order than an overlay, including new or full construction, reclaiming, "foamed asphalt", and other forms of rehabilitation, such as partial reconstruction or using recycled asphalt pavement (PMRAP):5 years If the applicant can show that the need for an opening permit could not have been anticipated before the highway was paved and that it has made an effort to investigate alternative installation procedures, MaineDOT may elect to consider an Exception in accordance with Section 14, Exceptions and Appeals. In the case where an exception is granted, MaineDOT will normally require a higher standard of repair as shown on the Pavement and Trench Restoration Details in the Appendix. MaineDOT may additionally increase the 10% permit fee.
4. Traffic Control

All traffic control shall be conducted in accordance with the most recently approved version of the MUTCD. Unless otherwise specifically approved as part of an overall Traffic Control Plan, a minimum of one lane of traffic shall be maintained at all times. All work zones shall have the appropriate signing and traffic control officers (flaggers) shall be supplied as necessary.

5. Construction Requirements

In addition to the applicable requirements specified within this rule and as specifically detailed in Section 9, General Facility Location Requirements, and Section 10, Underground Installations, permittees are advised of the following standard permit conditions:

A. Standard Specifications

Unless otherwise specified in the permit conditions, all work shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent version of MaineDOT's Standard Specifications.

B. Minimize Disturbance

All work shall be conducted in a manner to minimize excavation and destruction of pavement to the extent practicable considering the specifically permitted location.

C. Compliance with Laws

In accordance with Section 10, Underground Installations, all work shall be conducted in compliance with all local, state and federal laws. The permittee is specifically advised that all trenching operations shall be in compliance with current OSHA regulations, all traffic control shall be in compliance with the MUTCD (see Section 6(4), Traffic Control, above), any work impacting facilities covered by ADA must meet all current applicable requirements of ADA, and all excavations shall follow Maine's requirements for the Protection of Underground Facilities [ 23 MRS §3360-A ] as administered through MPUC and reported to Dig Safe®System, Inc., and each Utility using OKTODIG.

D. Backfill

Backfill material shall be equivalent to material removed, except that special Backfill of suitable material may be used immediately around pipe, cable, conduit, etc. or to replace material that cannot be compacted. The twelve (12) inches located immediately below the pavement layer, or the full depth of gravel base in more recently constructed highways which is typically greater than 12 inches, shall conform to the Department's gravel base specifications.

When crushed stone is utilized as bedding or backfill under paved areas, an approved geotextile shall be used to minimize the migration of fine soils.

E. Compaction

Backfill material shall be uniformly distributed in layers of not more than 8 inches and thoroughly compacted by use of approved mechanical compactors before successive layers are placed. Water shall be added when necessary to increase the moisture content of the Backfill material to obtain adequate compaction. Puddling or jetting of Backfill will not be allowed.

F. Surplus Materials

All surplus materials shall be removed from the site and the area shall be left in a clean, presentable condition.

G. Pavement Cuts

Installations proposed to be made under paved areas shall be designed to use the shortest possible distance under the pavement consistent with the particular installation involved. Pavements shall be cut in advance along the proposed edges of excavation. Prior to permanent pavement restoration, trench edges shall be recut to one foot beyond the original trench cut and pavement shall be replaced to the full depth and extent of the existing pavement that was removed.

H. Work Times

Work shall normally be accomplished during the daylight hours of weekdays and within the time frames specified in the permit. Work proposed on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or at night must be specifically approved by MaineDOT. No work will be granted outside of the paving zone dates specified in MaineDOT's most recent version of Standard Specifications unless the location of the facility or the method of installation does not impact pavement. When an emergency opening or exception work must occur outside of the paving dates, MaineDOT will require more stringent winter conditions and the permit holder shall provide temporary paving, and maintain the trench throughout the winter months, until the frost is out of the ground.

I. Work in Advance of a MaineDOT Project

Although an opening fee may not be charged when MaineDOT determines that a qualifying Project will commence shortly after work has occurred, the permittee will be required to cap any trenches in paved areas with 3 inches of bituminous pavement and this work will be subject to the project contract specifications. The permittee shall be responsible for maintaining the trench area until such time that the roadway falls under jurisdiction of the project contractor.

6. Inspection

All work performed within the Highway limits will be subject to periodic inspection by MaineDOT. In addition, and at MaineDOT's discretion, a dedicated MaineDOT or third party inspector may be assigned to oversee any specific projects or work activities to ensure that the state's interests are sufficiently protected. All costs associated with this inspection shall be borne by the permittee, over and above the permit fee.

7. Funding Agency Addendum

Upon written notice from the Department of Environmental Protection; Department of Human Services Drinking Water Program; Department of Economic and Community Development; or USDA, Rural Development ("Funding Agencies") that a project is funded, in whole or in part, by them and subject to their control and approval, the following requirements shall apply:

A. The Funding Agency shall ensure that the calculated Permit Fee is submitted with the application in lieu of establishing a Financial Assurance.
B. The Funding Agency's contract documents shall contain a requirement that a pre-construction video survey of the roadway work area be completed and submitted to MaineDOT before work commences.
C. The Funding Agency's contract documents shall contain a requirement that all work must be to the satisfaction of MaineDOT following a final inspection by MaineDOT representatives before final payment to the contractor is made by the Funding Agency.
D. All applicable roadway rehabilitation and traffic control requirements contained herein shall be incorporated in the Funding Agency's bid documents.
E. The Funding Agency shall ensure that all work is properly inspected to make certain that the work is done in conformance with the project specifications and requirements herein. This inspection may be in the form of direct Funding Agency supervision or through the services of a third-party inspector working under the supervision of a Professional Engineer. If the MaineDOT determines that the inspection of the work in the roadway is inadequate, MaineDOT may provide or require inspection in accordance with Section 6(6), Inspection.
F. All roadway rehabilitation work shall be guaranteed for one full year from substantial completion of the project. The Funding Agency shall ensure that any corrective measures necessary during this warranty period are adequately addressed.
G. The Permit Fee will be refunded if an overlay, consisting of hot bituminous pavement over the entire paved roadway width, is provided after the installation has undergone at least one winter season and within 1 calendar year of project completion. This overlay shall consist of ¾-inch minimum thickness hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavement surface mixture, current MaineDOT Standard Specifications HMA 9.5mm/0.375 inch HMA fine. Shimming before overlay may be required depending on the condition of the surface to be paved.
8. Failure to Meet Permit Requirements

If MaineDOT determines that work is being conducted in an improper manner, MaineDOT will notify the permittee, both verbally and in writing, of the deficiency (or deficiencies) and may also require additional actions to correct and/or verify work that has been accomplished. Examples of such actions may include:

A. Requiring the permittee to retain the inspection services of an engineering firm in accordance with Section 6(6), Inspection.
B. Re-excavating and backfilling questionable or deficient areas as may be necessary, or C. Cleaning areas that were not properly addressed If the permittee does not undertake the required corrective actions, MaineDOT reserves the right to correct the issues as necessary and the permittee shall be responsible for all associated costs. The permittee is also advised that failure to meet any permit requirements may result in revocation of the permit.


17-229 C.M.R. ch. 210, § 6

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