Encroachment Permits

EncroachmentLocating Utilities in the Right-of-Way

To locate utilities, call 811, or visit the 811 website for Washington State.

Using County Rights-of-Way

Traffic Encroachment Permits provides individuals and entities the ability to use county right-of-way (ROW). The service includes determination of issues and conditions, issuance of the permit, with general and specific conditions, and the inspection of the permit activity.


Generally, the activities involved with an encroachment permit include:

  • Driveways and improvements to existing driveways
  • Storm drain installations
  • Utility connections and installations
  • New road construction
  • Temporary access
  • Sidewalks
  • Miscellaneous roadway installation
  • Fences
  • Retaining walls
  • Landscaping

Both private citizens and commercial contractors use these services. Activities include a review and inspection of work within county right-of-way.

Approximately 1,100 permits issued annually in Whatcom County require administration and procedural guidance and applicability of WCC title 12.16 for the use of county rights-of-way by individuals and entities.

Determinations of Public Authority & Responsibility

  • Statutory responsibility to provide determinations of public authority and responsibility with the right-of-way.
  • Ensures the integrity of the public transportation infrastructure.
  • Guarantees compliance with the best management practices for drainage and environmental concerns.
  • Protection of public and private rights and resources.
  • The encroachment permit process saves money spent on maintenance and future legal defense.