Members of the Maryland Society of Surveyors:
Two specific questions regarding Maryland’s right to regulate specific activity on or near State highways came out of SHA’s June 2014 MSS workshop. The following responses were prepared by Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Kenney:
First Question: What right(s) does the State Highway Administration have to require permits for anyone desiring to work within or across the State highway right-of-way?
Answer: Two statutes govern this right. The first, Section 8-646 (a) of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, prohibits six specific actions on State highways. The law requires a permit from SHA to do such things. Except as permitted, a person may not: make an opening, place any structure, change or renew any structure, dig up any highway, plant or remove trees, or place any obstruction or improvement on any State highway.
Any other actions on State highways do not require permits, but may be governed by Vehicle and/or Traffic Safety Laws.
The second statute, Transportation Article Section 8-625 (and 8-626, 627 and 628) is limited to permits required for industrial access to State highways and industrial crossings on highways that carry an Average Daily Traffic (ADT) volume of more than 2,000 vehicles. The permits may limit the width of existing entrances and exits and determine the location of access points. To deny a permit completely seems to also be within the discretion of SHA. The code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Section 11.04.05.01, details the application process for permits to work within and across a State highway.
Second Question: What right(s) does the State Highway Administration have to require highway widening from proposed subdivisions?
Answer: Per Section 23-103 of the land Use Article of the Annotated Code, the appropriate county planning board, in connection with the approval of a subdivision plat, can require a dedication of land for among other things, widening an existing public road that abuts the subdivision for the purpose of providing additional right-of-way adequate to serve additional traffic that will be generated by the subdivision (sections 10-102 and 104 contain certain additional requirements for Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties). Although this statute does not mention the role of the State Highway Administration, the power to establish, and maintain a State highway system, which are public roads, is covered by Transportation Article Section 8-204.
Michael P. KenneyAssistant Attorney General
SHA Lane Closures and Access Note
Please visit the following link for specific training on Temporary Traffic Control Management. It is a SHA requirement that at least one company representative be certified and named on the permit application as the Traffic Control Manager. http://www.mtbmaonline.org/traffic-control/
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3601
Main Business Line – 410-545-0300
Safety Campaigns – 1-800-323-6742
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