When your construction requires any portion of the public right-of-way or a public storm sewer or sanitary sewer easement or greenway is excavated or disturbed, a Permit to Excavate in the Public Right of Way is required per City of Madison Ordinance 10.05.

  • No work may take place until the permit application has been approved
  • A copy of the approved permit must be kept on-site
  • All contractors working in the public right-of-way must be prequalified

Process Overview

  1. Discuss with City Engineering

    If work spans more than one street segment a public hearing before the Board of Public Works is required. Allow for a minimum of 10 days for public hearing notice and additional time as necessary depending on the Board of Public Works scheduled meeting times. All contractors required to do a public hearing are responsible for publishing and distributing hearing notices.

  2. Apply for Permit

    What to Include
    • A completed Permit to Excavate in the Public Right of Way application form.
    • Sketch showing existing utilities in relation to proposed work and dimensions of all disturbed areas within the right-of-way. Pavement areas should be dimensioned separately from non-pavement areas.
    • If the work includes more than one street segment, a public hearing before the Board of Public Works will be required. A minimum of 10 days prior to the hearing the applicant is responsible for publishing a notice in the paper and notifying all property owners or residents along both sides of all streets along the route. Contact City Engineering at (608) 266-4751 for details on this requirement.
    • Changes within the right-of-way (change in curb or sidewalk locations or terraces that differ from existing conditions) will require a plan to be approved by the City Engineer and, depending on the scope of the work, it may require a Developer’s Agreement or approval by the Board of Public Works. Additionally, private utilities other than direct services may require easement or licensing agreements from the City. Applicant will be notified if any additional approvals or agreements are required.
    Where to Go

    Engineering Division Permit Applications
    1600 Emil Street
    Madison, WI 53713

    Apply online at: Permit to Excavate in the Public Right of Way

  3. Permit Review

    Permit reviews typically take 10 – 15 business days. The process may take longer if you need other agreements, permits, or a public hearing.

  4. Completion

    Approved permits may be mailed or emailed to Applicant upon approval. Fees vary by permit and are based on the permit application fee, inspection fee and street degradation fee. All fees are invoiced, on a monthly basis, after the permit is approved and issued.

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