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redball graphic Procedures and Standards for Commercial, Industrial, and
Subdivision Access to State Highways



Chapter .05 Commercial-Industrial or Subdivision Street Permits
(All Entrance Permits other than Residential)

AUTHORITY: Transportation Article, Sec. 2-103(b)(2); 8-202(b)(2)(i); 8-203(a); 8-204(b), (c), (i); 8-625; and 8-646;
Annotated Code of Maryland


A. Authority. The Annotated Code of Maryland grants to the Administration certain regulatory authority, including the right to limit the width and location of existing access points, the requirement that an entrance from any commercial or industrial property may not be made into any highway except in accordance with a permit issued by the Administration, and the requirement that permits must be acquired from the Administration before working within and across a State Highway. An application for a permit to construct a commercial entrance or street intersection shall be filed with plans, engineering fee check, performance surety and any other items which may be required by the responsible parties or their authorized representative.

B. Who Shall Apply for a Permit. The following is a descriptive listing of some of the parties required to apply for a permit. It is to be used only as a guide and may not be construed as all-inclusive. The words "commercial", "industrial", and "subdivision", used singularly or collectively in the following text, shall include all entrances other than those for an individual residence.

    (1) owners, or their duly authorized representatives (developers, contractors, tenants, lessees, etc.), of land newly being developed commercially, industrially, or as a subdivision, all desiring access to a State Highway;

    (2) Parties desiring to establish a now public street intersection or modify an existing public street intersection;

    (3) Parties desiring to change existing entrances or create new entrances into existing commercial or industrial facilities, and subdivisions;

    (4) Parties desiring to modify, expand, or in any other manner make improvement to an existing facility, which will increase or change the type of vehicular generation or traffic pattern;

    (5) Parties desiring to change use of occupancy of an existing facility;

    (6) Parties owning, occupying, leasing, or using a commercial or industrial facility (which was in existence before 1957) that is not fully channelized in accordance to permits issued by the Administration and which is now deemed hazardous from the viewpoint of access.

    (7) Parties desiring to do any work within or across the State Highway right of way.


A. Any individual or corporation desiring to construct a commercial, industrial, or street entrance connecting with a State Highway shall make written application to the appropriate office listed below. Applications shall be accompanied by the required engineering fee, performance surety, eight copies of the detailed plans, and a utility letter (see I(2) of this section), if applicable.

B. Applications should be mailed to the appropriate Administration office as follows:

Counties          Make Application At:

Anne Arundel            State Highway Administration
Baltimore                       Engineering Access Permit Division 
Calvert                 Room 302C, 707 N. Calvert Street 
Carroll                 P.O. Box 717
Charles                 Baltimore, Maryland 21203
Prince George's
St. Mary's

Dorchester              State Highway Administration
Wicomico                District Engineer
Worcester               P.O. Box 2679
                        660 West Road
Somerset                Salisbury, Maryland 21801
                          or Baltimore office

Cecil                   State Highway Administration
Caroline                District Engineer
Kent                    P. 0. Box 299 (Morgnec Rd.)
Queen Anne's            Chestertown, Md. 21621
Talbot                       or Baltimore office

Allegany                State Highway Administration
Garrett                 District Engineer
Washington              P.O. Box 3347 
                        1251 Vocke Road
                        La Vale, Md. 21502
                          or Baltimore Office
C. Work may not be undertaken on the State right-of-way until the permittee has received his copy of the permit and a 48 hour advance notice has been given the maintenance engineer or inspector specified in it.

D. When permit work involves erection of a new traffic signal and/or relocation or adjustments to a traffic signal, or both, it will be the additional responsibility of the permittee to notify the State Highway Administration, Traffic Engineering Division, Glen Burnie, Maryland; phone 410-787-5800 and Assistant District Engineer, Traffic, 10 days before beginning the work. This 10 day period is on the assumption the traffic signal plan has been reviewed and approved by the Traffic Division and financial arrangements, if any, have been made. The Assistant District Engineer, Traffic, for each of the seven districts can be contacted as follows: 

District 1                  SHA District Office
        Dorchester              660 West Road, P.O. Box 2679
        Somerset                Salisbury, Md. 21802-2679
        Wicomico                (410) 543-6715

District 2                      SHA District Office
        Caroline                Morgnec Rd. Md. 291
        Cecil                   Box 299
        Kent                    Chestertown, Md. 21620-0299
        Queen Anne              (410) 778-3061

District 3                      SHA District Office
        Montgomery              9300 Kenilworth Ave.
        Prince Georges          P.O. Box 327
                                Greenbelt, Md.  20770-1403
                                (310) 513-7358

District 4                      SHA District Office
        Baltimore               2323 W. Joppa Road
        Harford                 Brooklandville, Md.  21022
                                (410) 321-3514

District 5                      SHA District Office
        Anne Arundel            138 Defense Highway
        Calvert                 Annapolis, Md. 21401
        Charles                 (410) 841-5450 Ext 41
        Saint Mary's

District 6                      SHA District Office
        Allegany                1251 Vocke Road
        Garrett                 P. 0. Box 3347
        Washington              La Vale, Md. 21504-3347
                                (301) 729-8444

District 7                      SHA District Office
        Carroll                 P.O. Box 308
        Frederick               5111 Buckeystown Pike
        Howard                  Frederick, Md. 21701-8305 
                                (301) 694-2595
E. Application. Applications shall be submitted in duplicate on forms provided by the Engineering Access Permits Division.

F. Plans

    (1) All applicants shall submit detailed plans for review, indicating the true relationship between their planned improvements and the Administration's existing right-of-way and pavement. Plans shall be prepared by registered land surveyor or registered professional engineer unless the requirement is waived by the Engineering Access Permits Division. Plans shall show dimensions, existing and proposed contours, storm drain facilities, structures, parking, interior traffic patterns, typical section through the State Highway Administration right-of-way, proposed curbs, sidewalk ramps, proposed widenings, etc.

    (2) When possible, the applicant's plans should be referenced to Administration surveys.

    (3) A general location map shall accompany plan submission.

    (4) Preliminary plot plans should be prepared on an engineering scale of not less than 1 inch = 50 feet. Recommended scale is 1 inch = 20 feet. When acreage is of such a size that the plot plan must be to a smaller scale, it would be appropriate to make a separate plan for the entrance construction.

    (5) Plan submission shall include a maintenance of traffic plan.

    (6) For access permits where work is required in the traveled way or where work disrupts the normal traffic pattern, an appropriate traffic control plan shall be developed by professional representatives of the permittee and approved by the SHA Assistant District Engineer, Traffic.

G. Engineering Fee. In connection with the processing of applications, an engineering fee shall be charged for each point of access.

H. Performance surety. In order to assure complete and satisfactory compliance with the terms and specifications of the Entrance Permit, the permittee shall be required to submit a performance bond, letter of credit, or certified check, in a form acceptable to the Administration. The amount of the bond, check, or letter of credit, shall be the next highest even thousand dollar above 150 percent of the cost estimate for the construction. This estimate must be acceptable to the, S.H.A. If a bond is submitted, the S.H.A. will be designated as the obligee and the permittee as principal. In instances where a certified check is submitted, the check shall be made payable to the State Highway Administration.

I. Utility Adjustment.

    (1) The relocation or adjustment of any public or private utility shall be the responsibility of the permittee. This includes traffic signals, fire hydrants, water mains, sewers, storm drains, telephone facilities, electric facilities, etc.

    (2) Before the issuance of an access permit, the permittee will be required to submit letters from the Permittee or Utility Companies acknowledging and agreeing to the financial responsibility regarding the relocation or adjustment of utilities.

    (3) It is the permittee's responsibility to relocate or have relocated all utilities which are within the paving and in front of the curbs to be constructed under the permit. This relocation shall be accomplished before initiation of work stated in the permit or accomplished simultaneously with the work. The entrance and paving may not be open to traffic until relocation has been completed.

    (4) Notify "Miss Utility", Phone: 1-800-257-7777, 48 hours in advance of any construction to have underground utilities staked and marked in the field.

J. Inspection Cost. At the discretion of the SHA District Engineer, a State Highway construction inspector may be assigned to inspect the work stipulated in the permit. The cost of this inspection shall be the responsibility of the Permittee. If the cost, including any necessary laboratory work, is expected to exceed $5,000.00 it must be paid in advance. This cost will be calculated on the base pay of the assigned employee plus overhead.

K. Maintenance Responsibility. The owner shall be responsible for maintaining all areas from the flowline front face of curb to the State Highway right-of-way line both during and following construction.

L. Traffic Impact Study. At the discretion of the State's Engineer, applicants for a major development and/or a development that may have a significant impact upon the State's highway system shall submit a traffic impact study to determine the type of access and scope of required highway improvements required to accommodate the proposed development.


A. All work and materials shall conform to Administration specifications, standards, and addenda current at the time of the permit grant.

B. All work is subject to Administration's periodic inspection and final approval.

C. Entrance Location.

    (1) The number and location of entrances which may be granted will be based on usage, interior and exterior traffic patterns, and current design policy of the Administration.

    (2) A maximum of two entrances may be allowed in the first 200 feet of frontage. For each additional 100 feet of frontage thereafter a maximum of one entrance may be permitted, subject to the final decision of the Administration. Regardless of frontage, a development may be restricted to a single entrance and exit.

    (3) Entrances shall adhere to the safety criteria for acceptable intersection or stopping sight distance conditions, or both, in accordance with current Administration standards and engineering practices.

D. Entrance Width.

    (1) The maximum width for a two-way access at 90 degrees shall be 35 feet, except where traffic, type of access, type or size of using vehicles justify a variation of the 35 foot maximum. The minimum width of a two-way access is 25 feet.

    (2) One-way access at 45 degrees to 90 degrees, shall have a maximum width of 20 feet. The minimum width should also be 20 feet. Exceptions based on existing conditions and current adopted design criterion may be made by the State Highway Administration.

    (3) Entrance width shall be measured perpendicular to the centerline of the entrance.

E. Channelization.

    (1) Unless other channelization is acceptable to the Chief, Engineering Access Permits Division, all entrances permitted under these regulations shall be channelized, for their entire frontage, as follows:
      (a) Projects funded in the Consolidated Transportation Program for construction within 6 years, whether or not advertised - temporary bituminous curb may be used.

      (b) Highways with safety grading - Type C concrete curb or curb and gutter.

      (c) All other situations - Type A concrete curb or curb and gutter.

      (d) On existing curbed State Highways, developers shall generally be required to replace existing curbs in kind.

    (2) The front curb shall generally be constructed on a line 12 feet to 15 feet from and parallel to the existing edge of the road as determined by the Administration. The rear edge of the back curb shall be constructed on the existing right-of-way line where existing right of way is sufficient for ultimate roadway design. Where the existing right-of-way is not sufficient to contain the ultimate improvements, the curb should be placed on the alignment of the proposed right-of-way line. The area between the curbs shall be properly graded and paved, sodded or seeded. Signs, structures, etc. may not be placed in this area or elsewhere within the highway right-of-way.

    (3) In rural areas where a drainage ditch of sufficient depth to act as a barrier will remain paralleling the highway, or the height and grade of slope of the property abutting the State Highway is greater than 3 feet and 2:1 respectively, the back curb (on the right-of-way line) may be eliminated at the discretion of the State Highway Administration. However, the front curb shall be constructed. If the topography of the area is changed by the owner so that the side ditches or cut slopes are eliminated, a curb or a curb and gutter along the right-of-way will be required.

    (4) Ultimate Section

      (a) Rural Section - four lane divided highway, 50- 76 foot median.......Minimum 150 foot right-of-way.*

      (b) Urban Section - four lane divided highway, 20- 34 foot median.......Minimum 120 foot right-of-way.*

      (c) Street Section - undivided 36-60 foot street, Minimum 80 foot right-of-way.

    * Right-of-Way widths based on minimum slope requirement. Increases will necessitate wider right-of-way width.

F. Curb Length.

    (1) The minimum curb length between entrances is 40 feet, consisting of a 10 foot radius - 20 foot tangent 10 foot radius.

    (2) The minimum tangent curb length between the radius point of the entrance and the property line is 10 feet.

G. Intersection Radius.

    (1) At the intersection of a State Highway with a minor road (county, municipal, etc.) the minimum radius shall be a 30 foot or equivalent 3 centered compound curve.

    (2) At the intersection of a State Highway with a State Highway or other major arterial highway, the minimum radius shall be a 50 foot or equivalent 3 centered compound curve.

    (3) At intersections with channelization providing for free right turns, the above mentioned dimensions will be increased as directed by the State Highway Administration in accordance with accepted engineering practice.

    (4) There shall be a minimum 20 foot tangent distance between the intersection radius and the first permitted entrance.

H. Paving: Paving within the State Highway Administration right-of-way, including storage lanes, by-pass lanes, speed change lanes, crossovers, entrances proper, etc., shall be in accordance with current SHA paving specifications or as stipulated in the permit, or both.

I. Median openings. The granting of a permit for access onto a dual type facility may not be construed to mean that an opening in the median will be permitted.

J. Pump Island Location. In order that the entrances operate a maximum efficiency, it is recommended that the roadside face of the pump island of filling stations be set a minimum of 12 feet, preferably 15 feet, from the property line. Pump setback lines are subject to the regulations of the pertinent local subdivision.

K. Building Setback. In order that the entrances operate at a maximum efficiency, it is recommended that the minimum desirable building setback line be 30 feet. Building setback lines are subject to the regulations of the pertinent local subdivision.

L. Angular Entrances. Angular entrances may not extend beyond the property line when paving a driveway to highway, or beyond access control limits. The point of control will be the extension of the property line from its intersection at the existing State Highway Administration right-of-way line normal or radial to the edge of the pavement. On Way angular entrances should be at 45 degrees.

M. Ditch Cross Sections. Ditch cross sections shall be in accordance with current adopted SHA criteria.


A. Definitions.

    (1) Roads or streets leading through a subdivision or development and making connection with a State or principal highway will be known under these regulations as "non-preference roads."

    (2) The State Highways or principal roads will be known as "preference roads".

B. Non-preference roads leading into or intersecting preference roads are limited to a distance of 750 feet between centerlines.

C. The angle of intersection with preference roads shall be not less than 70 degrees or greater than 110 degrees.


A. The gradients of intersecting streets should be as flat as possible on those sections that are to be used for storage space for stopped vehicles. Grades in excess of 3 percent may not be allowed on the landing grade (first 50 feet) of intersecting streets, unless otherwise approved by the administration. This allows for a normal maximum grade break of 5% between the normal 2% preference road cross slope and the profile grade of the non-preference road. Grades beyond the landing grade shall be in accordance with currently accepted engineering practices, but may not exceed 6 percent.

B. The profile gradelines and cross sections on the non-preference intersecting streets shall be designed to provide a smooth junction and proper drainage. Normally, the grade line of the major highway should be carried through the intersection, and that of the intersecting street should be adjusted to it.

C. Commercial entrances shall be guided by the criteria in Sec. A and B, above. A minimum 40-foot landing grade may not exceed 3%. For sites smaller then 1/2 acre and low traffic generators, grades up to 6 percent are allowed. An approved grade may not exceed 6%, with a maximum grade break of 8% allowed between the State Highway and the entrance profile grade.


A. It is highly recommended that all tentative plans for commercial sites be reviewed with Administration representatives before the applicant develops his completed plans. However, the applicant shall furnish the Administration an authorization from the owner, or proof of ownership, before receiving information regarding State Highway Administration future highway plans. This is in accordance with Transportation Article 8-322(b), Annotated Code of Maryland, and opinions of the Attorney General relative to it.

B. Plans for commercial sites should be submitted to the Administration for review after the developer takes an option or acquires title to the property. The Administration will review the tentative plans and inform the prospective developer whether or not the plans as submitted comply with the duly promulgated regulations of the State Highway Administration.

C. The permittee or owner is responsible for carrying storm water to an outfall in a manner acceptable to the State Highway Administration. Acceptable outfalls, and their associated contributing drainage facilities shall meet the design criteria set-forth by the Administration. In cases where the proposed site storm drainage facilities:

    (1) Are not tied into existing highway drainage facilities, storm water management plans should be reviewed and approved by a County, Soil Conservation District, or the State Water Resources Administration, or all of these. The discharge rate after development shall not exceed the rate before development for the 2-, 10-, and in some instances, the 100-year storm events. The State Highway Administration will institute legal proceedings upon being damaged by increased storm water run-off to recover any costs and to avoid recurrence.

    (2) Connect to existing State facilities, the proposed storm water management plans must be reviewed by the State Highway Administration following their approval by a County, Soil Conservation District, or the State Water Resources Administration. The State will review the proposed facilities based on the design year-storm of the existing State facilities. For example, State Highway cross culvert outfalls will be analyzed using the functional classification storm, State side ditch outfalls on the 10 year storm, State longitudinal storm drain outfalls on the 25 year storm, etc..

D. Information which is required to determine properly the effect of proposed drainage facilities on existing highway drainage facilities is as follows:

    (1) A map showing the drainage areas contributing to the proposed drainage facilities and the drainage areas contributing to the existing highway drainage facilities which are affected. When photogrammetry coverage is available, these maps are the most desirable for presenting this information. When there is no photogrammetry available, U.S. Geological Survey Quadrangle Maps, if possible enlarged to at least a scale of 1 inch = 500 feet, are the next choice.

    (2) Current zoning information, preferably presented in map form, covering the entire drainage areas involved.

    (3) Grading plans, if the project is part of a residential or commercial development.

    (4) Plans for the proposed drainage construction, identifying each pipe or other structure involved.

    (5) A profile of the proposed drainage construction extending sufficiently into the Administration right-of-way so that differences in survey data between Administration construction plans and the proposed improvement can be clearly established. When the existing drainage facilities are of considerable age, the profile should be extended to cover all affected facilities within the State Highway Administration right-of-way. Profiles of proposed storm drain systems should include inlet grate elevations and manhole cover elevations, in addition to invert elevations.

    (6) Hydraulic calculations in accordance with currently accepted engineering practices.

E. If traffic conditions demand the erection of signals or other traffic control devices at private (commercial) access points, construction and maintenance are the responsibility of the permittee or other responsible parties. The State Highway Administration assumes no obligation, financial or otherwise, for-erection or maintenance.

F. Entrance Approval. Administration approval of entrances should be obtained before finalizing the development plans and making application to the local authorities for a building permit.

G. Entrances onto highways can only function to the degree of efficiency that the interior traffic pattern permits. Therefore, in developing the site plan, every effort should be made to employ accepted traffic engineering principles in designing the interior traffic pattern.



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