Oct 24, 2022

Design Matters: UDOT Access Permits

By Focus Engineering In Expertise No comments

Creating communities that foster mobility and enhance land use

Land development can be a rigorous and complex process. Every project is unique and can bring its own set of challenges. Often, each phase of a project requires separate permitting—land development, demolition, building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc. These permits are issued to verify that a project is designed and built in compliance with federal, state, and local codes and ordinances.

Key to the design of any community is mobility. Residents want to easily access a major roadway to get to work, school, or play more quickly. Whenever a driveway or street connection is designed and access is needed to a state route or state-owned roadway, an access permit is required. 

FOCUS Engineering and Surveying has helped clients navigate the permitting process for over 15 years. Jason Watson, Transportation Department Manager, has worked with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) for almost two decades. He enjoys collaborating with FOCUS civil engineers and land planners to create communities that foster mobility and enhance land use. 

Our transportation team typically works with developer clients who want to gain access onto a UDOT road. “We like to meet with a client and provide an overview of UDOT’s permitting process,” Jason shares. “We explain what the Department will be looking for, what improvements are most likely needed, and the time needed to obtain the permit.”

With a solid understanding of UDOT standards and processes, FOCUS helps clients navigate the access permit process. During the pre-application meeting with UDOT, we explore whether a new or modified access point (street or driveway) is feasible under state and federal law. Using an application checklist, we also help clients understand required forms and studies. Once Jason and his team design the improvements, the design is submitted to UDOT for review. If the review results in a request for more information, FOCUS addresses the comments and then finalizes the plans to obtain the access permit. 

“Because FOCUS is a one-stop shop for design and coordination as well as traffic impact studies, our clients don’t have to coordinate with multiple consultants to secure an access permit,” explains Jason. The UDOT permit process can take several months, so Jason regularly shares updates with a client and keeps a close eye on applicant review times to secure a final letter of approval. 

Jason estimates FOCUS has secured 30–40 permits for clients over the last three years. “Our team excels at anticipating and addressing the specific needs of a project efficiently and accurately.” Jason says. Improving the complex systems that make our communities functional and prosperous takes creativity, persistence, and communication. And it’s what drives us to continue to transform the way we do business.