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  • NUCA


Effective January 1, 2017



The purpose of this policy is to establish a uniform approach to pavement cuts and repair applicable to utilities and other contractors working in the public rights-of-way.


The local agency shall establish a tiered system based on the date of construction or reconstruction of pavement and may also apply additional criteria for roadway condition. The policies applicable are as follows:

1. A pavement cut moratorium will be in effect for a period of three years for all new and

reconstructed Tier 1 roadways.

2. The policies for Tiers 2-4 roadways is as follows:

a. Full Policy: Patches/paving shall extend the full width of an established travel lane.

Pavement cuts shall be full depth and extend 2 feet (2’-0”) beyond the nominal trench edge longitudinally and transversely. There shall be no gaps ≤ four feet (4’-0”) from curb or gutter. b. Modified Policy: Patches paving shall extend beyond the wheel path to the middle of the

travel lane. Pavement cuts shall be full depth and extend one foot (1’-0”) beyond the nominal trench edge longitudinally and transversely.. There shall be no gaps ≤ four feet (4’-0”) from curb or gutter. 3. Tiers Based on Age of Pavement

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4

Arterial Streets:

0 – 36 Months (3 years from date of substantial

completion) 3 – 5 Years 5-12 Years > 12 years

Principal Moratorium Policy Full Policy Full Policy

Modified Policy

Minor Moratorium Policy Full Policy Modified Policy

Modified Policy

Neighborhood Collector Moratorium Policy Full Policy Modified Policy

Modified Policy

Local Access Streets:

Industrial/Commercial Moratorium Policy Modified Policy Modified Policy

Modified Policy

Residential Moratorium Policy Modified policy Modified Policy

Modified Policy

Note: It is the discretion of each jurisdiction to review the individual road segment ages to determine patch requirements on longitudinal installation over multiple roadway segments with variable ratings. In principle, each road section will be patched according to the tier in which it is ranked.

Note: Any deviation from the Tier Policy will require approval in advance by the local agency.

Note: Each agency will provide date of last major reconstruct either electronically, on issued permits, or on the respective agency website.


Agency Engineer: City or County Engineer, his/her designee (Engineers, Inspectors, Project Managers, Field Personnel) representing a Local Agency.

Assignee: The contractor who is taking out the permit.

Bell Hole: A hole dug to allow room for workmen to make a repair or connection in buried pipe, such as caulking bell-and-spigot pipe or welding steel pipe. A bell hole can also be used for the starting location of an underground bore, when using the directional boring equipment. In the broad sense, any hole other than a continuous trench opened for working on a buried facility

Compaction: Restoration and backfill of the Trench, Pothole, and Bell hole. Each shall be compacted in lifts using the industry standard equipment to tamp the backfill material to 95% density.

Full depth: Asphalt depth top to base of asphalt or thickness of asphalt

Gap: Distance between two asphalt patches

Keyhole: Core drilling in asphalt or concrete used when performing installation, maintenance, or repair work.

Length of Patch: For this document the length of all patches is the patch dimension parallel to the roadway.

Local Agency: The governing entity having jurisdiction of the area that the permittee has submitted an application to obstruct or conduct construction operations.

MUTCD: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: Traffic Control should be set up to warn and protect the workers and general public by avoiding the working area during construction. Traffic Control must meet or exceed the Washington State modifications to the MUTCD (see section, Chapter 6G and 6H).

New Roadway: Any roadway that has had a designed rehabilitation in the permitted excavation location that is less than or equal to three years.

Patch: Cut in the pavement as part of the current permitted job.

Permittees: The utility company or contractor who submits an application for a permit to obstruct and/or conduct construction operations in the public right-of-way. Local agencies and their contractors shall be considered permittees for application of this policy even though the respective agencies and/or their contractors may not take out permits.

Potholing: Potholing is the practice of digging a test hole to expose underground utilities to ascertain the horizontal and vertical location of the facility. The horizontal and vertical position of the exposed facility must be tied to a survey benchmark or permanent above grade feature. The position may be identified by GPS or traditional survey coordinates or by measuring the distance, with a tape measure, to permanent features in three horizontal directions. In addition, the vertical distance below grade should be obtained.

Project Completion: Date when the following has occurred: final permanent restoration of roadway is complete and approved by the inspector, and all as-built documentation has been submitted to the local agency. A fax transmittal confirmation ticket of ‘as built’ shall be considered confirmation.

Standard Specifications: Current version of the WSDOT Standard Specifications for Road, Bridge, and Municipal Construction, Supplemental Specifications and/or Drawings as attached by local agencies.

Travel Lane: travel lanes shall be established based on striping, or where there is no striping, shall be twelve feet (12’-0”) in width.

Width of Patch: For this document the width of all patches is the patch dimension perpendicular to the roadway.


1. Patching:

a. No patching material will be allowed within an existing patch if the new

patch exceeds seventy percent or more (70%+) of the existing patch. The entire existing patch shall be replaced. b. The minimum length of the patch parallel to the road shall be six feet (6’- 0”). If any part of the excavation, patch or damaged area intrudes into an adjacent lane, that lane shall also be replaced in accordance with the tiered chart. c. New patches adjacent to any existing patch shall be installed at the existing patch line. When this is not feasible, no gap of 4 feet or less shall exist. d. When 2 or more patches are created within a given job that measure 15 feet or less longitudinally or transversely they will be incorporated into a single patch. Anytime five or more patches are required within a 350-foot longitudinal area, the utility will notify the agency to determine if cost sharing is an option to expand the pavement repair/replacement area. e. Only saw cutting or approved grinding device will be allowed. Only parallel and perpendicular pavement cuts will be allowed. No jagged, broken or rolled undermined edges.

i. Per agency approval, grind and overlay outside of the full depth asphalt removal limits may be allowed to achieve full patch limits. ii. There may be times when a diamond shaped patch is the preferred method for the repair (i.e. man holes and valve boxes), since it will provide a smoother ride instead of a square patch. f. All pavement overcuts shall be sealed full depth, flush with the pavement surface. The contractor is required to use an approved sealing material. The area to be sealed must be clean and dry, and the material heated to melt into and fill the overcut (maximum length of cut is equal to depth of asphalt). If any holes remain after application, contractor is to repeat procedure. Contractor will clean the overcut to remove any debris which may obstruct the sealing process. g. The completed surface of all courses shall be of uniform texture; smooth, uniform as to crown and grade and free from defects. The completed surface of the wearing course shall not vary more than 1/4 inch from the lower edge of a ten foot straightedge placed parallel to the centerline. Recognition and consideration will be made for existing roadway conditions. The Agency Engineer must approve corrective measures. 2. Keyholes. Can be used on moratorium streets, subject to agency approval. a. Keyholes should be kept to vertical as close as possible. b. Backfilling the keyhole should follow same method as open trenching, using

crushed aggregate. c. Core reinstatement shall be per manufacture specifications. 3. Materials. All patching materials and construction requirements not addressed in this

document shall conform to each Local Agency’s Standards. Longitudinal cuts that extend through multiple tier classifications will require discussion with the local

agency to determine appropriate patching approach. In principle, each road section will be patched according to the tier in which it is ranked. 4. Traffic Control:

a. All existing traffic control markings will be replaced as soon as possible

after permanent paving is completed. b. Temporary markings for lane lines and stop lines shall be in place prior to the roadway opening for traffic. c. All remaining temporary striping will be completed within seven days of new pavement completion and shall be maintained by permittee until permanently restored. d. All traffic markings will be replaced per normal work practices. All temporary traffic control for the work zone shall conform to the MUTCD and Washington State modifications to the MUTCD. All traffic control is subject to the approval of the Agency Engineer or his/her designee 5. Emergency Repairs. The permittee shall be allowed to make emergency repairs provided a more reasonable alternative does not exist. Every reasonable effort will be made to restore the roadway quickly. Local agency will be notified of emergency repairs not later than the next business day.


1. Chip sealed roads shall be rehabilitated according to construction requirements for

asphalt roads per agency and tier level. 2. All existing pavement types shall be constructed at the existing depth of asphalt and crushed surfacing, in accordance with applicable Local Agency Standards (including any fabric or membranes); Replacement section of asphalt and crushed rock shall not be less than the minimum section specified in Local Agency’s Design Standards. 3. All concrete road cuts shall be pre-approved before beginning work (except in the case of an emergency situation). Concrete roads shall require full panel replacement unless approved otherwise by local agency. All concrete joints shall require an approved tie bar and dowel retrofit. Depth of concrete replacement shall match the existing thickness, or shall be in accordance with Local Agency’s Standards. Care shall be made not to undermine the existing panels. If the adjacent panels are disturbed or damaged, they also shall be replaced at the discretion of the Local Agency. All joints shall be sealed with an approved material. 4. Asphalt over concrete road cuts – if known - shall be pre-approved before beginning work (except in the case of an emergency situation). Saw cutting or other approved practice for removal of the concrete shall be allowed at the discretion of Local Agency. The asphalt portion of the cut shall be constructed according to the pavement cut policy. 5. All areas outside of the travel lanes that are affected by the work shall be restored to their original condition. All shoulders shall be restored to their original condition.


1. Valve and manhole repairs shall be exempt from the patching requirements of this

policy. Valve and manhole patching requirements shall be per each Local Agency’s Standards. All warranty and construction requirements shall be met. No longitudinal construction joints shall be allowed in the wheel path. 2. Potholing to find utilities shall be allowed. To be exempt from the gap and patching policy, cuts shall be a maximum of two-feet square (2’-0”) with no longitudinal joints in the wheel path and shall be backfilled with controlled density or other approved fill from six inches above the utility to six inches below bottom of asphalt. Round vs. square cuts are preferred.

NEW DEVELOPMENT The moratorium policy will be explained both as to costs and to construction practices by the Local Agencies as part of the permitting/zoning process for new construction or major remodeling projects. Individual permittees/utilities will not be responsible for this function. Individual permittees/utilities will be responsible for doing the work and the costs associated with the moratorium policy as they open roadways for work. Cost recovery from developers will be calculated and coordinated by permittee/utility.


1. Pavement cuts on roadways ten years old or less will have a warranty period of five

years. The patch in the roadway shall be repaired as necessary until the warranty has passed. 2. All other roadways shall require a minimum three-year warranty period. All

warranties shall become void if rehabilitation work is performed to the road within the patching limits. 3. For road cuts performed by a Utility using its internal capability, that Utility or assignee will be responsible for repairs required during the warranty period. 4. All curb, sidewalks and structures that are affected by the excavation shall be included in this policy and have a warranty for five years. 5. All warranty work requires that an agency inspector be on site. The permittee shall be required to coordinate inspection with the appropriate department within the Agency. 6. The following defects identified by the local agency engineer shall be covered by warranty: a. Sunken pavement patches greater than or equal to one-quarter inch (Measured by a ten-foot straight edge). b. Failure to meet agency visual rating standard for patching and joints to

medium or high). c. Poor workmanship. d. Inadequate compaction per Agency standard. e. Sunken or damaged curb and sidewalks in excavation work area. f. Sunken or damaged drywells and catch basins in excavation work area.

7. Notice of Repairs.

a. If emergency repairs are needed due to safety concerns, the permittee shall have twenty-

four hours in which to make such repairs from time of verbal notice by the Local Agency.

b. For non-emergency repairs on arterial roads the permittee shall have forty-eight hours to

make such temporary repairs.

c. Residential streets, the permittee shall have up to seven days to make such temporary repairs.

The local agency may provide for repairs not completed within the specified timeframe and permittee will be assessed all costs associated with the repairs. The costs shall be based on actual costs or the average bid items for comparable projects for the year preceding, plus ten percent overhead fees. If repairs are made other than seam sealing to the warranted patch, a new warranty will be implemented for the new patch. The permittee shall have two days to notify their asphalt company of the needed permanent repairs. If the work is not done in a timely manner and following notification the work shall be privately contracted or Local Agency maintenance crews will perform the needed repairs. The permittee shall be assessed the associated fees for the repairs. All utility cut construction shall follow the construction and warranty requirements per local agencies standards.


1. During winter asphalt concrete paving plant closures or outside of temperature specifications (see section 5-04 of the WSDOT/APWA Standard specification). The permittee shall install and maintain a temporary patch until it can construct a permanent patch. A temporary patch will be required if the road must be opened to traffic before a permanent patch can be made. 2. The temporary patch shall consist of four inches of crushed surfacing or current local agency standards, and two inches of cold-mix asphalt pavement, or upon approval of the Agency Engineer, crushed surfacing top coarse and/or steel plates may be used. On arterials, when a temporary patch is required for more than two months, Portland Cement Concrete shall be used to construct the temporary patch if weather permits (Contact Local Agency for mix design requirements). The permittee shall maintain the temporary patch until the patch has been permanently restored.

PERMITS 1. All work in the ‘Public Right-of Way’ requires a permit issued by the local agency. Permittee shall take out all permits and perform all work. 2. The permittee shall fax or send a letter to the appropriate Local Agency permit center designating their assignees. The permittee will be required to submit a construction and traffic control plans required by local agencies when applying for a permit. If the Agency Engineer determines that abuse of obligations are prevalent, future construction permits shall not be issued until the permittee has fulfilled all obligations to existing permits. Written notification by Local Agency will be sent prior to this action. 3. The permittee shall provide a detailed “As-built” record of the pavement cut after construction is completed. The permittee shall provide details indicating existing pavement section, new pavement section and any unusual conditions at the location of the constructed utility. The location shall include the name of the road the work is being performed on and the name of the closest intersections in each direction. Distance measurements shall be from intersecting streets. This information will be provided to the Local Agency’s Permit department for a permanent record. This information shall be returned no later than seven days after the completion of the permitted project by mail, fax, or other electronic means by either permittee or patching contractor. The intent of this process is to record small patching details. Larger projects shall be reviewed and approved prior to construction. 4. Each Local Agency may provide permittee to contribute normal patching costs to local agencies to accomplish paving or full depth replacement of the roadway. (This does not apply to work done within sewer projects). 5. The Local Agency should be notified of existing problems with the adjacent roadway to a proposed patch. Every effort will be made to leverage both utility and agency dollars for street improvements.


The permittee shall be responsible for all construction and warranty requirements of this policy. Utilities will provide identity of excavator/permittee as known to local agencies. Local agencies will attempt to get permittee to correct warranty defects. If permittee is a subcontractor for utilities, the utilities will assume responsibility if permittee can not/will not make repairs.


Failure to comply with any part of this policy may result in denial of future permits.

After 3 notices of noncompliance, the Agency shall send a notice to comply within 10 working days or all future permits may be denied until the problems have been corrected.

A meeting shall be arranged with the appropriate Agency and a plan of action to prevent future noncompliance shall be presented before issuance of any new permits.

An appeal can be applied for in writing to the appropriate Agency.

Noncompliance Activities include:

1. Failure to take out a permit. 2. Failure to maintain temporary patches. 3. Failure to make permanent repairs. 4. Failure to make emergency repairs. 5. Failure to make warranty repairs. 6. Failure to send back As-Built information. 7. Failure to inform agency of asphalt completion date. 8. Failure to follow traffic control measures, as required.


It is understood that field conditions may warrant a waiver or an exemption from these regulations. Developers, Contractors or Owners may appeal for a waiver of the moratorium to allow for excavation into a street that meets the criteria for the moratorium tier.

The appeal process completion in NO WAY obligates the affected Agency Engineer to allow such an excavation, and any such decisions are at the Agency Engineer’s discretion.

• Submit a letter of intent to the affected Agency Engineer outlining their proposed project and the impact of the project.

• Establish that all alternative avenues have been investigated and fail to meet the needs of the project.

• Acknowledge the requirements of restoration of the area affected, and that there will be required special inspection, the cost of which shall be borne by the applicant of the waiver.

• Propose a meeting with the Agency Engineer to discuss the project.

• Establish a timeline of the project through completion.


The local agencies will host a meeting with each other and other interested stakeholders at the end of each construction season for the purpose of reviewing the effectiveness of the policy for the completed construction season and suggested improvements for future construction seasons.

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