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Applying for a city of Austin right of way (ROW) permit can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re planning a project within the city of Austin and need an ROW permit, this guide can walk you through the process in easy-to-follow steps. We’ll go over who needs a permit, how and where to apply, what you can expect from the process, and what records are required for consideration. Whether you’re a first-time applicant or an experienced pro at navigating permit applications, we’ll provide all the information you need to make your application successful.

What Is a Right of Way Permit?

A city of Austin right–of–way permit serves as an authorization for a company or individual to perform certain types of construction within city-owned lands, also known as “rights of way.” Examples of projects that may require this type of permit include street work, public utility application or installation, and any other activities which disturb the city’s property.

In order to ensure the city’s rights and interests are clearly communicated in all situations where private entities interact with city-owned property, it’s essential to obtain the correct ROW permit prior to proceeding with a project. This will help avoid costly delays due to improper planning or unsafe practices that could potentially lead to issues. Therefore, it’s important for all companies and individuals who plan on accessing city lands for construction purposes to apply for the appropriate ROW permit beforehand.

So how do you do it?

Steps To Receive a Right of Way Permit

There are only six steps to obtaining a city of Austin right of way permit. Let’s break each one down in detail.

Step 1: Determine Whether You Need a Right of Way Permit

Determine that you actually need a city of Austin right of way permit before starting the process. If your project requires utility companies or telecom providers to access their physical infrastructure, then this permit cannot be overlooked. Additionally, if your project involves any public-owned land, such as streets and sidewalks, you’ll need an ROW permit before work can begin. You can find all of the information about which projects require a ROW permit here. Make sure you take the time to fully understand if a city of Austin permit is necessary for your project before you begin construction.

Step 2: Secure Pre-approvals

Pursuing a city of Austin right of way approval requires thorough preparation, including having any necessary pre-approvals in place. These include things like a secure Traffic Control Plan (TCP) and utility company approval in the form of an AULCC. Having a pre-approved TCP is essential to receiving your ROW permit, so be sure to allow ample lead time to ensure sufficient review and timely city processing. Adapting basic safety control measures as they relate to pedestrian and car traffic and your project, i.e. barricades and traffic cones, can help the Austin city workforce efficiently process your permit application in the most expeditious manner possible.

Factoring in the time to secure pre-approvals can make or break your project timeline.

Step 3: Submit Your Application Online

You can submit your application once you have all of your pre-approvals in place. And now, you can submit your city of Austin ROW application online. This new service allows prospective applicants to quickly and easily submit all the necessary documentation in one sitting, reducing time wasted on paperwork so you can focus on your project. To submit your application, sign up for an account here.

Step 4: Coordinate With Stakeholders

Your project’s stakeholders include any person, organization, or government authority or department affected by or involved with the project. The Austin Right of Way Management Division manages the ROW within the city, so is a good place to start. Communication with stakeholders should be an ongoing process throughout the lifetime of your project. But it’s especially important to coordinate with them after your permit applications are submitted and before construction begins.

Step 5: Confirm There Are No Other Area Conflicts

Confirm that there are no other permitted activities that conflict with your proposed project. Applicants can search for conflicts by using the city of Austin portal, the Austin Build Connect “Public Search” function. If a conflict exists, you will need to resolve it before your permit can be issued.

Step 6: Pay Any Necessary Fees

Last, but not least, pay up! Once you submit an application, you’ll be notified if there are any applicable fees that need to be paid before progress can be made on your project – making acquiring an ROW straightforward yet secure. To learn more about applicable fees, view the city of Austin fee chart here.

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