Highway access permits are required when physical work or activities take place within, or impact, the State Highway Right-of-Way or property owned or under the custody and control of MassDOT-Highway. The authority to issue State Highway Access Permits is covered under Massachusetts General Laws; Chapter 81, Section 21 and Chapter 85, Section 2. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI
The process and procedures governing the review of State Highway Access Permit applications, issuance of permits, and their associated fees, can be found in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations; 700 CMR 13.00.
Common types of work and activities include: driveways (curb cuts), roadway improvements, utility work (the utility company/municipality is usually the applicant), landscape activities, parades, road races, temporary way-finding signs, survey work, traffic control, staging of equipment, and other miscellaneous work or activities. MassDOT-Highway does not issue permits for conducting business, vending operations, or activities that involve the exchange of currency within our Right of Way. Certain land uses may require a separate license or lease agreement issued by the MassDOT Office of Real Estate and Asset Development (OREAD).
MassDOT-Highway issues approximately 2,500 permits on an annual basis. Permits are issued from our Six District Offices. If it is determined a permit is needed, an online application may be initiated after establishing an account. Fees will not be assessed until the District Office confirms the work or activity is permissible, the location is within our jurisdiction, the proper permit type has been established, and the required supporting documentation has been submitted for review. While MassDOT-Highway will do our best to accommodate applicant requests our responsibility for maintaining the safety of all roadway users and the integrity of our infrastructure and surrounding environment is paramount.
In most cases a MassDOT Highway Access permit is not required if activities are performed outside of the MassDOT-Highway right-of-way.
There are instances where an "indirect" access permit is required for a driveway located on a roadway not owned by MassDOT-Highway but the traffic flows and patterns resulting from that driveway significantly impact an abutting MassDOT-Highway roadway. This may occur with larger commercial developments with high traffic counts where modifications to traffic signals, signs, pavement markings and roadway elements on the MassDOT-Highway roadway are required to accommodate the traffic volume increases.
If you are unsure if the location of your planned work or activity is on a MassDOT-Highway owned roadway please contact a District Permit Office for further assistance. The appropriate District contact information can be provided by selecting the City or Town from the pulldown list.
Click on the "MAP" button below to use a mapping tool that provides information on Roadway Jurisdiction.