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Depending which state and city you live in, there are regulations that you need to follow if you want to get a driveway access permit. This is generally required when the driveway runs into a state road or highway. When talking about driveways in general, you may only think of them as leading to a residential area such as a house or apartment complex. Before you begin any new construction project there are a few facts to consider as it relates to driveway access permits.
But first…what is a driveway defined as?
In short, driveways are access paths that are on the developed property. They can be on residential and commercial land. They connect and join these areas to streets and highways, whether private or public. Private streets such as those in subdivisions will share a driveway which is known as a “joint driveway”.
For any new development projects where you need to plan out a new driveway, you will need to consult with your local Department of Transportation (DOT). They will provide you with a highway work permit. This will allow you to complete the project based on the laws and ordinances that are currently on the books.
Many people might think that this government office is only responsible for distributing driver’s licenses. This is only part of the story. The DOT also ensures that the roads stay free and clear during inclement weather. They are also responsible for establishing speed limits, maintaining traffic signals, and the design of public roadways.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
Most cities and counties require that you first present them with a project site plan outlining exactly what you plan to do. They must approve your site plan before any development begins.
There is a lot of back and forth during the proposal review process. You will need to begin as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t waste time and money having to make changes that can impact your project’s timeline.
Each DOT has regulations around how many driveways can be in one area along. In addition, they will also determine the distance it can be from buildings and other roadways. For example, the Greensboro, North Carolina DOT states that you can have one driveway for areas that are less than 200 ft along a public street. The street distance increases as the number of driveways increase.
This differs from county to county, but there is a review process that takes place in which you are required to present your site plan. After the initial review, the DOT will determine if the options align with the current land development regulations. They will also decide whether a study into the impacts on traffic is needed.
Once the initial review is completed, there will be a more comprehensive audit where suggestions are made. Some of these suggestions include feedback on a city, county and community level. You will need to refine and update your plan before moving on to the final step.
The final step involves a review of the complete plan. You will also submit any requested documents. This includes proof of insurance and payment of fees related to obtaining the permit.
If you have a certain amount of traffic going through or around the proposed driveway location, the DOT will need a traffic impact study. This number fluctuates from county to county and can range from 500 to well over 4,000 cars passing through each day.
This study can also be conducted if the access point for the driveway is within a certain distance of a highway. It can also be requested for areas where the rate of accidents occurring is high. If there are construction projects underway then the DOT may also request an impact study to take place.
Taking the time to do things right, in the beginning, will help save time and avoid headaches in the long run. These are only some of the considerations to factor in when you are considering the requirements for driveway access permits. It’s best to do research into what your county or municipality requires before giving the “okay” on any major construction jobs.