Road permits

Hennepin County administers a permit program with an objective of preventing damage to the roadway facility and maintaining traffic safety and convenience. The objective is accomplished through a utility permit system that controls installation of utilities and other physical changes within county rights-of-way and a transportation permit system that regulates oversize and overweight loads.

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Access permits

Access management has become as important subject as transportation professionals grapple with the issues of increasing congestion and deteriorating roadway operations. The goal of managing access is to achieve an optimal balance between what is needed for safe and efficient roadway operations versus the need to provide access to adjacent properties and businesses.

The term access management is applied to a number of measures that can be used to enhance a roadway’s safety and its ability to move vehicular traffic through management and control of access points to the roadway. These measures include:

  • Limiting the number of driveway access points to decrease turning conflicts
  • Location of entrance or access points further from adjacent intersections
  • Providing sufficient spacing between intersecting streets
  • Spacing traffic signals to optimize traffic flow
  • Implementing sight distance guidelines to improve safety
  • Use of channelization to preclude selected turning conflicts

The purpose of a county access management program is to:

  • Enhance the county’s ability to provide a safe roadway system
  • Assist in efficiently moving traffic
  • Support orderly development patterns
  • Provide reasonable access to adjacent properties

Through State Statute (160.18, Subd. 3), the State of Minnesota has granted regulatory authority to agencies that have roadway and highway responsibilities. These agencies include the Minnesota Department of Transportation, counties and cities. The regulatory authority includes the issuance of access permits for properties located immediately adjacent to the roadway.

Hennepin County exercises access management techniques on its roadway system through a variety of practices. The access permitting process and preliminary review of developments/plats have been significant tools for access management. Most driveways and street entrances constructed on the county system since the 1960’s required permits governing their location and configuration.

Obtaining access permits

The road authority onto whose roadway you wish to install an access must issue the access permit. Hennepin County is the road authority for county state-aid highways and county roads. For local roads, the road authority can be the city, township or municipality. Hennepin County does not issue permits for accesses on local roads.

Permits are applied for through the e-permitting system.

To order access permits online, you must first establish an account and submit evidence of insurance. After your account is established, you can apply online at any time.

Utility permits

Hennepin County holds the rights-of-way within its geographical boundaries as an asset in trust for its citizens. Under Minnesota law, the county is to manage the use of the right-of-way for public purposes, including use by public utilities. To provide for the health, safety and well-being of its citizens and to ensure the structural integrity of its roads and the appropriate use of rights-of-way, the county strives to keep its rights-of-way in a state of good repair and free from unnecessary encumbrances.

Hennepin County Ordinance 22 imposes reasonable regulations on the placement and maintenance of facilities currently within its rights-of-way or to be placed therein at some future time. It is intended to compliment the regulatory roles of all interested local, regional, state and federal agencies. Under the ordinance, persons disturbing and obstructing the rights-of-way will bear a share of the financial responsibility for their restoration and integrity. Finally, the ordinance provides for partial recovery of the county’s costs associated with managing its rights-of-way.

Pursuant to the authority granted to the county under state and federal statutory, administrative and common law, the county elects to manage rights-of-way under its jurisdiction. “Manage the rights-of-way” means the authority of the county to do any or all of the following:

  • Require registration
  • Require construction performance bonds and insurance coverage
  • Establish installation and construction standards
  • Establish and define location and relocation requirements for equipment and facilities
  • Establish coordination and timing requirements
  • Require right-of-way users to submit to the county required project data reasonable necessary to allow the county to develop a right of way mapping system including GIS system information
  • Require right-of-way users to submit, upon request of the county, existing data on the location of users’ facilities occupying the public right-of-way within the county
  • Establish right-of-way permitting requirements for excavation and obstruction
  • Establish removal requirements for abandoned equipment or facilities, if required in conjunction with other right-of-way repair, excavation or construction
  • Impose reasonable penalties for unreasonable delays in construction or work conducted without having been issued the necessary permits

Obtaining utility permits

The road authority in whose right-of-way you wish to install a facility must issue the utility permit. Hennepin County is the road authority for county state-aid highways and county roads. For local roads, the road authority can be the city, township or municipality. Hennepin County does not issue permits for utility facilities on local roads.

Permits are applied for through the e-permitting system.

To order utility permits online, you must first establish an account and submit evidence of insurance. After your account is established, you can apply online at any time.

Transportation permits

The authority to issue permits and collect fees was granted to the County Engineer or Director of Transportation by County Board Resolution, dated January 9, 1968 and June 22, 1971.

A transportation permit is required for the movement of any vehicle or load over a Hennepin County roadway when the legal dimensions and/or legal axle or gross load weights are exceeded as set forth in Minnesota State Statutes 169.80 through 169.825.

Maximum vehicle dimensions

For height, width and length requirements see Minnesota State Statutes 169.80 and Minnesota State Statutes 169.81.

Weight, axle and tire limitations

For weight, axle and tire limitations see Minnesota State Statutes 169.825.

Most county highways carry a ten-ton axle weight limit. Some county bridges carry a posted weight restriction.

Obtaining transportation permits

The road authority over whose roadway you wish to travel must issue the transportation permit. Hennepin County is the road authority for county state-aid highways and county roads. For local roads, the road authority can be the city, township or municipality. Hennepin County does not issue permits for travel over local roads.

Permits are applied for through the e-permitting system.

To order oversize/overweight permits online, you must first establish an account and submit evidence of insurance. After your account is established, you can apply online at any time.

Event permits

Minnesota Statute 169.04 provides that local authorities may regulate or prohibit processions or assemblages on the streets and highways under their jurisdiction. The County Engineer or designee may issue permits for such parades or processions on county highways if the following criteria are met:

  1. That a legitimate public interest is being served by the partial or full closure of the highway. (This does not permit the use of county highways to foster private interests.)
  2. That requests for temporary highway restrictions or closures be made, in writing, by the Event Coordinator with approval from the local municipality to the Permit Engineer.
  3. That a specific date and time is agreed upon.
  4. That a definite area of the highway is designated for the partial or exclusive use of such public events. The area to be used shall be defined by the beginning and end of the restricted area, width of the highway to be used, and whether partial or total use is required.
  5. That safe and convenient detour routes are made available for the through highway traffic. Such detour routes shall be provided by the applicant and approved by the local authority. A complete detour plan must be submitted with the Event Permit request and must be approved by the Permit Engineer. All signing for such detours shall be provided and maintained by the applicant for the duration of the detour and must conform to the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The county shall have no responsibility for damage incurred on the local roads or streets being used for the detour.
  6. That adequate police coverage of the highway closure and direction of the detour traffic is available. Coordination of the local police and the County Sheriff's Patrol may be necessary for establishing this police requirement.
  7. That no stands, buildings, tents or other encroachments be permitted within the highway right-of-way.
  8. The county reserves the rights to deny any event permit application on the grounds of not being in the best interest of the public.
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