State right of way (ROW) permits

A permit is required to work in the right of way of an Interstate, U.S. or state highway. All of these numbered highways make up the state trunk highway (STH) system.

The permitted work may consist of, but is not limited to:

  • Excavating
  • Placing fill materials
  • Grading
  • Paving
  • Surveying
  • Boring under a highway
  • Installing an overhead line
  • Blocking and detouring traffic

A permit must be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) prior to the start of any work, and a copy of the permit (either paper or electronic) must be at the work-site at all times.

Under Wisconsin Statute s. 86.07(2)(a), the maintaining authority of a highway is also the permitting authority. WisDOT issues permits on most numbered highways. However, many cities and villages maintain sections of state and U.S. highways located within their municipal boundaries. These sections are called "connecting highways" (see connecting highway list). Check with WisDOT or the municipality to verify which agency has the permitting authority. Permits for utility work on WisDOT railroad property and STH detours are not controlled by this statute.


Click on the link below for information related to the specific permit topic.

Associated Wisconsin law

Visit the links below for Wisconsin law associated with utilities and permitting on state right of way.