This Chapter highlights legal obligations and administrative requirements the permittee is responsible for under the Access Permit. Additional terms and conditions are frequently included in the Access Permit as site-specific factors and circumstances dictate. The Access Permit constitutes a binding contract between the Permittee, his/her heirs, successors, and assigns, and the SHA. It is important for applicants to be aware of and understand the key responsibilities, some of which continue indefinitely after the construction work authorized by the permit is complete. This information is provided for illustrative purposes only and shall in no way be interpreted to supercede, contradict, or substitute for the terms and conditions of an actual granted Access Permit.

9.1 Completing the Work

The permittee and/or permittee's contractor shall fully perform the modifications and/or improvements set forth in the permit in a manner satisfactory to SHA. Failure to complete the modifications and/or improvements within the allotted time may result in one of the following actions:

  • The permit may be revoked if the entrance work has not started and the property is not in commercial use.
  • SHA may elect to complete all or part of the work at the permittee's expense if work is not completed or if the permittee has failed to comply with the permit provisions. The performance surety will be applied to fulfill the terms of the permit and all administrative, engineering, and construction costs in excess of the insured amount will be the responsibility of the permittee.

9.2 Compliance with Specifications

All construction authorized by the permit shall be in accordance with State standards and specifications, the approved and permitted plans, and various specifications identified in the terms of the permit. Work must comply with the SHA’s Standard Specifications for Construction and Materials, including all addenda in effect at the time of permit issuance. The personnel on the job site performing the work are required to have a copy of SHA's approved permit and plans at all times and they must have full knowledge of the contents of the permit. SHA may close down projects where the job site personnel do not have a copy of the approved permit and plans and/or are not complying with the plans and specifications.

9.3 Utility Clearances, Adjustments, and Relocations

9.3.1 Responsibility.

The permittee is responsible for all relocations and adjustments of public or private utilities. This includes traffic signals, fire hydrants, water mains, sewers, storm drains, telephone facilities, electric facilities, etc.

9.3.2 Permitting of Utility Work.

All utility work within State right-of-way, including adjustment, relocation, or new installations, shall be accomplished under a separate permit issued by SHA District Utility Engineer. The Access Permit does not authorize utility work; however, coordination of certain construction activities may be required, to minimize disturbance to the State highway facilities and traffic operation.

9.3.3 Clearance on Existing Utilities.

Clearance with any existing utility and any required adjustments to utilities shall be in accordance with the criteria established by the utility owner. Clearances and adjustments should be determined prior to permit issuance, if at all possible, using appropriate methods such as test-pitting. This greatly reduces the likelihood of conflicts and the resulting delays, design revisions, increased costs, and extended traffic disruption during construction.

9.3.4 Unforeseen Utility Conflicts.

Should unforeseen utility conflicts arise during construction, an alternative design will be required that is functionally equivalent to the permitted design. This may require submittal of an alternate design to EAPD and/or various other SHA divisions, such as the Highway Hydraulics Division. Construction activity on State right-of-way may be suspended, with full restoration of the normal traffic patterns, until an acceptable design is approved.

9.4 Property Impacts

Many access permits require work that may extend beyond the property frontage and outside of existing State right-of-way. The permittee is responsible for obtaining all necessary right-of-way for the project, including fee simple right of way, permanent easements, revertible easements, temporary construction easements, and rights of entry to complete the work. These property rights shall be obtained and, if applicable, conveyed to the State prior to the issuance of the Access Permit.

9.5 Other Permits and Approvals.

The permittee shall be responsible for obtaining any and all other permits, approvals, etc., from the appropriate parties or agencies that may be necessary for completion of the permitted improvements in accordance with applicable laws. The fact that the improvements are located within State-owned property, or are subject to review and approval by other State agencies, does not relieve or diminish this requirement. Permits and approvals that are typically required may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Tidal or nontidal wetlands, waterways, and buffers
  • Floodplains
  • Stormwater Management
  • Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Historic/Archaeological/Cultural resources
  • Conservation easements
  • Reforestation
  • Utility work
  • etc.

These authorizations are issued by other State and local agencies, not the SHA. The permittee is expected to lead all necessary coordination efforts, obtain public input, etc. required in order to obtain the necessary authorization(s).

9.6 Drainage

The permittee is responsible for the impact of the development on State highway drainage conditions and facilities, proper management of stormwater runoff in accordance with State and/or local requirements, and establishment and maintenance of proper erosion and sediment controls.

9.6.1 Highway Drainage Conditions and Facilities.

Highway drainage conditions and facilities (existing and proposed) shall conform to the approved plans and conditions represented by the accepted engineering computations.

9.6.2 Stormwater Management.

Positive and controlled flow of stormwater runoff to a suitable outfall, without ponding or erosion damage, shall be obtained. So that no increase in stormwater runoff is generated by this development into the State highway, proper stormwater management plans should be reviewed and approved by the County, Soil Conservation Districts and/or Maryland Department of the Environment and implemented by the permittee. SHA is not an approving authority for stormwater management or sediment and erosion control requirements associated with the work within State right-of-way.

Should proper "Stormwater Management" not be provided to address the development of the property, and upon being damaged by increased stormwater runoff from the development, SHA will institute legal proceedings to prevent a recurrence of such situations to protect the public's safety and to seek reimbursement for any damages sustained. All existing drainage systems (including, but not limited to ditches structures, inlets, pipes, outfalls, etc.) shall continue to function in an effective manner while work is in progress, as well as upon completion of work. Should any disturbance be made to existing drainage systems, the permittee must restore them to their original condition and function using appropriate methods (including, but not limited to, structural replacement, cleaning out, resodding, stabilization practices and paving) as directed by SHA.

9.6.3 Erosion and Sediment Control.

The permittee shall be responsible for the placement of any sediment and erosion control devices required by the approving authority or deemed necessary by SHA during the construction of the improvements outlined in this permit. Stabilization measures for work permitted within the State's right-of-way shall conform to State standards and the requirements of the local sediment and erosion control approving authority. Stabilization shall be fully satisfactory to the SHA prior to release of the permit.

9.7 Inspection Services Costs

SHA may, at its discretion, assign an SHA inspector to provide full time inspection of the construction work. The permittee shall be responsible for the actual cost of this inspection, including applicable additive and administrative overhead. The applicant will generally be advised of this requirement prior to the issuance of the permit and will be required to prepay the estimated cost to a holding account. Should costs exceed the prepaid amount, or if a prepaid amount was not required, any bill for inspection service must be paid by the permittee within thirty (30) days of receipt.

9.8 Work Zone Traffic Control During Construction

The permittee shall establish and maintain proper temporary work zone traffic control devices and traffic patterns to address construction, in accordance with SHA requirements as outlined in the Access Permit. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Making timely notifications to the appropriate SHA Assistant District Engineer – Traffic as outlined in the Access Permit
  • Maintaining traffic using proper traffic controls in accordance with the latest version of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and State standards, using either a detailed traffic control plan approved by SHA or SHA's typical work zone traffic control details.

In the event that the SHA is required to provide traffic control to protect the public safety, due to the permittee failing to provide same, all costs and applicable overhead shall be billed directly to the permittee.

9.9 Permanent Traffic Control Devices

The permittee shall establish proper permanent traffic control devices and traffic patterns, in accordance with SHA requirements and as follows:

9.9.1 Specifications.

Permanent pavement markings, signing, and other traffic control devices shall comply with the latest version of the MUTCD, the SHA Standard Specifications, and the approved plans.

9.9.2 New Installations.

The Permittee shall be responsible for furnishing and installing all permanent signing, pavement markings, and other traffic control measures specified in the Permit or required in connection with the Access Permit, at the expense of the Permittee and/or others, but not the SHA.

9.9.3 Adjustments.

If it becomes necessary to adjust existing signs or pavement markings as part of the construction under the Access Permit, the permittee shall be responsible for their removal, relocation, and/or replacement at the permitee’s expense.

9.9.4 Elimination of Existing Pavement Markings.

If the existing lane markings on the State highway must be eliminated so that new pavement markings compatible with the lane configurations to be established under the permit may be installed, the permittee shall be responsible for the elimination of the lines in accordance with the permit and approved plans, as well as the placement of new pavement markings (to include stop bars, crosswalks, turn arrows, etc.). The permittee shall notify the SHA Assistant District Engineer -Traffic, at least 5 days prior to the removal and/or application of new markings. The permit will specify the method for eliminating the pavement markings that is acceptable to the Assistant District Engineer – Traffic.

9.9.5 Costs Billable to Permittee.

In the event that the SHA is required to provide traffic control due to the permittee failing to provide same, all costs and applicable overhead will be billed directly to the permittee.

9.10 Traffic Signals

9.10.1 Specifications.

If conditions dictate the installation or modification of a traffic signal, all work shall be subject to SHA requirements.

9.10.2 Approval for Signal Work.

In the event that adjustments to existing signal equipment were not anticipated during the design phase of the project, the Assistant District Engineer - Traffic should be promptly notified to obtain approval for signal work. It normally takes 60 to 90 days for the SHA to approve such requests.

9.10.3 Relocation of Signal Equipment.

The permittee is responsible for the relocation of existing SHA traffic signal poles, controllers, detectors, conduits, etc., at the sole expense of the permittee and/or others but not the SHA. The permittee shall have worked out the necessary detail through contact with the Assistant District Engineer – Traffic.

9.10.4 Obligation Regarding Potential Traffic Signals.

Traffic signals may be required by the Administrator and his authorized agent for installation after review and consideration of recommendations by the Office of Traffic and Safety, based on an engineering investigation and analysis in conformance with the latest requirements of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The determination may be made prior to permit issuance, during the build-out of the project, and/or following completion of the permit work.

9.10.5 Cost-Sharing for Traffic Signal Installations

A. Public Streets. For traffic signal installations approved for an intersection created by the construction of a local road or highway less than five years old, the local government and/or permittee will be responsible for the full cost of installation. For installations approved for an intersection that has been in existence for five years or more, both SHA and the local government and/or the permittee will share in the full cost of the installation, with the shares being determined on a per leg basis.

B. Commercial Entrances. When SHA determines that traffic conditions as outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways demand the installation of a signal and/or other traffic control devices at private (commercial) access points, the design, installation, and energy costs shall be the responsibility of the permittee and/or other responsible parties, but not SHA. SHA shall be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the traffic signal.

9.10.6 Power Feed Connections.

SHA does not apply for power feed on any Traffic Control Devices for private developers. Developers shall apply for the power feed and are responsible for all energy costs.

9.11 Lighting

9.11.1 Specifications.

If conditions dictate the installation and/or modification of highway lighting, all work shall be subject to SHA requirements.

9.11.2 Adjustments.

Adjustments to existing lighting systems necessitated by changes in grade, alignment, etc., shall be as directed by SHA. Any costs associated with the adjustments shall be the full responsibility of the permittee or others; but not the SHA.

9.11.3 Installation/Modification of Highway Lighting.

All roadway lighting on the State Highway System shall be approved for installation and functional operation through the SHA Office of Traffic and Safety. Installation and equipment costs shall be the permittee's responsibility.

9.11.4 Energy Costs.

Energy costs for approved roadway lighting will be accepted by SHA. Energy costs for ornamental or site lighting shall be the permittee's responsibility. The permittee shall contact the SHA District Utility Engineer, to initiate billing for the appropriate energy costs.

9.12 Miscellaneous Construction Requirements

The following requirements are conditions of every permit, in addition to the identified construction scope and improvements:

9.12.1 Use of Access.

Vehicular access to and from the subject site by the public, for the purpose of conducting business for the permitted use of the property, shall not be allowed until such time as the work herein specified has been fully completed in accordance with the permit.

9.12.2 Stabilized Construction Entrance.

If the access area is to be used for construction traffic prior to completion of the access, a standard stabilized construction entrance (SCE-1) shall be constructed at the direction of the SHA Resident Maintenance Engineer or Permit Inspector. The construction entrance shall be maintained in a condition which will prevent tracking or flowing of sediment onto the SHA right of way. This may require periodic top dressing with additional stone as conditions demand, and repair and/or clean out of any sediment control measures.

9.12.3 Surface Treatment of Graded Slopes.

Graded cut and fill slopes in the public right-of-way are to be sodded or seeded and mulched and completely stabilized to the satisfaction of SHA.

9.12.4 Incidental Disturbance.

All existing pavement, curb and gutter, monolithic median, islands, and sidewalk disturbed incidentally during construction of the work covered by this permit shall be replaced in kind, subject to approval of the SHA Resident Maintenance Engineer or Permit Inspector.

9.12.5 Traffic Barrier Not Specified In Permit.

In the fill areas where the cross slope of the embankment fill is steeper than 3:1 (horizontal : vertical), and the height of the fill exceeds 5', Standard Traffic Barrier "W" Beam is required as directed by the SHA Resident Maintenance Engineer or Permit Inspector.

9.12.6 Abandoned Project.

It shall be the responsibility of you and/or your contractor to restore the right-of-way to its original condition if construction begins but is abandoned prior to completion.

9.12.7 Mud and Debris Tracking.

All mud and debris tracked and/or spilled on the State highway shall be removed promptly to protect public safety, eliminate potential hazards, and comply with sediment control requirements. SHA will bill the permittee for the costs of cleanup and/or report non-compliance to the appropriate sediment control authority.

9.12.8 Fire Hydrants.

Fire hydrants on or adjacent to the project shall be kept accessible to fire departments at all times and no material or obstruction shall be placed within fifteen feet of any such hydrant. All footways, gutters, sewer inlets adjoining the work under construction shall not be obstructed more than is absolutely necessary. Construction zones closed down for the winter or at any other times shall be left entirely accessible at all points to fire apparatus.

9.12.9 Tree Impacts.

Proposed removal, selective thinning, or pruning of any trees within SHA right-of-way must be reviewed and approved by SHA's Office of Environmental Design - Landscape Operations Division (Phone 410-545-8590) prior to contacting the Maryland Department of Natural Resources-Forest Service, to determine whether that is permissible under the Annotated Code of Maryland, Title 08, Subtitle 07, Chapter 02.

9.13 Responsibility for Damage Claims

9.13.1 Permits Issued to Private Developers.

The permittee shall indemnify and save harmless the SHA and all of its agents, servants and employees from all suits, actions, or claims of any character brought on account of any injuries or damages to person or property occurring as a result of any act or omission by the permittee or their agent, servant, consultant or independent contractor employed by the permittee for the performance of the work required or identified in the permit or the preparation for the performance of the work set forth in the permit, including but not limited to the formulation of plans or plats.

9.13.2 Permits Issued to Counties and Municipalities.

The permittee shall, subject to the availability of appropriations and the limitations of the Local Government Tort Claims Act, Subtitle 4 of Title 5 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, indemnify, defend and save harmless SHA, and all its representatives from all suits, actions, or claims of any character brought on account of any injuries or damages sustained by any person or property due to acts or omissions on the part of employees, officers or agents of Permittee in connection with the work performed pursuant to this Permit. Permittee further agrees that it shall require its contractor(s) to purchase and maintain comprehensive general public liability and property damage insurance pursuant to Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration, [General Provisions for Construction Contracts], (October, 1993), GP-7.14, and Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration, [Standard Specifications for Construction and Materials] (October, 1993), TC-5.01. Contractor will obtain a certificate of insurance naming SHA as additional insured, and will provide SHA and Permittee satisfactory documented proof thereof.

9.14 Right-of-Way Responsibilities

The following continuing responsibilities are imposed on the permittee, their successors and assigns with respect to the improved property frontage adjacent to a State highway.

9.14.1 Maintenance.

Adjacent property owners are responsible for maintaining the property frontage including all areas from the drainage flow line or front face of curb to the State highway right-of-way line, both during and following construction.

9.14.2 Future Sidewalk.

At such time as sidewalk is constructed, it shall be the adjacent property owner’s responsibility to provide sidewalk ramps in accordance with SHA standards in effect at that time.

9.14.3 Obstructions.

No obstructions shall be placed on or within the SHA right-of-way without written permission.

9.14.4 Signs and Lights.

No signs or lights will be permitted on or above the State's right-of-way. (Except approved traffic control signs, traffic signals, intersection lighting, etc.)

9.14.5 Mailboxes.

If mailboxes are erected within the SHA right-of-way, they must be placed on a breakaway type post or support. The maximum size wooden post will be 4" x 4". The maximum size pipe support will be 2" in diameter. Any other type of support (ornamental) shall not have a structural strength greater than either of these. The owner will be directed to remove any mailbox support of a size greater than the aforementioned; and if not removed by the owner and/or you, it will be removed by SHA forces. SHA is not responsible for any damage to mailboxes regardless of how the damage may occur.

9.14.6 Plantings.

Through the access permit, permission may be granted to plant in the area behind the roadside curb. Maintenance of vegetation behind the roadside curb is the responsibility of the property owner. The plants shall be maintained at a maximum height of 18", and the plants shall be trimmed so they will not overhang the outside edge of the concrete curb. Where grass is planted, it shall be mowed and trimmed periodically to insure a neat appearance.

9.15 Future Adjustments

9.15.1 Site Development.

Any expansion and/or modification of the development, or change of use or occupancy of the property, will require the approval of the SHA with respect to highway access. SHA may require the owner, developer, or tenant to obtain a new access permit to remove, modify, or reconstruct the entrance in accordance with SHA requirements in effect at that time and deemed necessary by the SHA.

9.15.2 Median Crossovers.

In the event that any State highway is modified to become a dual or divided highway containing a median, or if a median is already in place, SHA may decline to construct or allow the construction of a crossover through the median that would allow left turns to and from the property. SHA reserves the right to restrict or eliminate the use of existing crossovers and new crossovers established under permit.