The objective of this publication is to provide information on the State Highway Administration's (SHA) residential access regulations. Our goal is to provide the maximum protection to the motoring public through the orderly control of traffic movement to and from the State Highway system. Permits are required for all driveways to assure that entrances to State Highways are made in a safe manner. This publication was prepared to explain the guidelines to be followed in obtaining a residential entrance permit.
Anyone accessing a State Highway from a residential property is required to obtain a residential entrance permit from the SHA. The SHA must approve the location, design geometries, drainage requirements, and paving cross section of a residential entrance on a State Highway. The entrance design guidelines discussed in this publication are based on SHA approved standards, specifications and engineering manuals. Traffic control specifications for shoulder work and lane closures are based on federal guidelines.
Application for a permit should be made to the local SHA office. The addresses of the local offices are listed later in this manual. Depending on the county, the application may be made to either the District Engineer, the Resident Maintenance Engineer or the Permit Inspector. The District Engineer is responsible for any construction, maintenance or other activity within his assigned counties. He is charged with ensuring the safety of the traveling public, in part, by allowing only the safest possible access points onto State highways. The Resident Maintenance Engineer is an agent of the District Engineer who, in addition to supervising the road maintenance activities in his area, accepts and processes applications for residential driveway access. The Resident Maintenance Engineer also performs periodic inspection of the driveway construction. In the metropolitan counties, a Permit Inspector may be assigned to handle requests for residential access. In this case, the Permit Inspector will accept, process and provide inspection for residential driveway access. In all cases, the District Engineer has final authority in the approval of the residential driveway permit.
In general, the permit application procedure is as follows. Upon receiving a completed application package, the District Engineer's representative will investigate the proposed driveway location to determine its acceptability based on sight distance, overall safety, drainage and other factors. After determining the best location for the driveway, the District Engineer will issue a residential driveway permit to the homeowner for construction of the driveway at that location. The permittee is responsible for all construction related to the driveway, including any utility relocations made necessary by the driveway construction. Forty-eight (48) hours prior to beginning work, the permittee must notify SHA of his intent to begin construction. This notification is necessary to allow for inspection scheduling. When construction is completed, to the satisfaction of the District Engineer or his representative, the permit will be released and the performance surety will be returned to the permittee. (Performance sureties are described in detail in this manual including sample documents.)
When properly applied, these residential driveway guidelines will provide for safer roadways for all motorists. This is true for the traveling public as well as the homeowner using the entrance.
These regulations apply only to residential entrances serving one to five homes. Any change in use, or resubdivision of the land for more than five (5) homes, would require the owner/developer to obtain an access permit from the Engineering Access Permits Division at SHA Headquarters in Baltimore (see address below). Any questions or comments about this publication should be addressed to:
State Highway Administration
Engineering Access Permits Division
707 N. Calvert Street
P.O. Box 717
Baltimore, MD 21203
(800)876-4742 Toll free in Maryland only.