An excavation right-of-way (ROW) permit (formerly known as a public right-of-way, or PROW, permit) is required by Arlington County Code Chapter 22 when any type of excavation activity is to occur within the County right-of-way.
Such excavation activity may include construction, demolition, replacement, relocation, installation or maintenance related, but not limited, to the following:
- Test pits
- Street milling and paving
- Sidewalks, curbs and gutters
- Driveway aprons
- Water, sanitary and storm mains and service connections
- Underground electric, gas and telecommunication mains and service connections
- Utility poles and/or guy wires
- Tree planting and landscaping
- Clearing, grubbing and grading
Any excavation work within the County right-of-way must be conducted by the permit holder. The permit holder must be a Class A, B or C licensed contractor with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and possess a valid Arlington County business license. The permit holder’s license information will be required as part of the application process.
Excavation ROW permit applications must be submitted online.
- You must submit an Excavation Right-of-Way Permit Application in Permit Arlington.
- From the Create drop-down menu, select Building Application. Then select Excavation ROW.
- View Permit Arlington Help for assistance with the online system.
- Permit requests requiring County plan review and approval require up to 20 business days from the date of online submission to be processed. (Permit requests that include plans previously approved by the County may be processed in less time.)
- Full payment of fees is required before permit issuance. Online payment via eCheck or credit card is available.
- If the work activity or street and sidewalk closures will preclude adequate access to homes or businesses, a letter must be sent via certified mail at least seven (7) days prior to the start of construction to all property owners impacted and to the presidents of any associated neighborhood civic associations and condominium, homeowner and tenant associations. The letter must include:
- Description of project
- Construction schedule
- Name of field superintendent
- Name, phone and email contacts of community liaison(s) who can address community questions or concerns
- The online application requires the following information:
- Applicant’s name, address, phone number and email
- Permit holder’s name, address, phone number and email (if different than applicant)
- Permit holder’s DPOR and Arlington County business license information
- Address or location of proposed excavation work
- See Underground Utilities Near Trees page when necessary
- Quantity and scope of excavation work
- Preferred start date and end date
- Notification letter and certified mail receipts (if applicable)
- Engineering plans or plats depicting in detail the work proposed under the requested permit and any other information required by the special conditions, regulations and instructions .
- Applicants receive their excavation ROW permits by email.
- Revisions to Approved Excavation ROWs are started from an approved ROW permit in the My Records page, and there is a workaround to a known issue when applying.
- A transportation ROW – with excavation (TREX) permit is also required if the excavation work will block or limit the use of any type of lane, including vehicular travel lanes, curbside parking lanes, on-street bike lanes, sidewalks or multi-purpose trails. Apply for both an excavation ROW permit and a transportation ROW permit. The two associated permits will be issued together.
- Upon permit expiration, all work must cease. The permittee must remove equipment, unless a permit extension is requested a minimum of three (3) business days prior to the expiration date.
- All work zones must be sufficiently protected by safety devices at all times. Safety devices for all work authorized by a permit must conform with all codes, rules and regulations and be maintained in proper working order to protect the public.
- The permittee must either ensure that existing street lights remain functioning during construction or must provide temporary street lighting as approved by the County.
- No permit can be issued if it would conflict with a current permit holder in the same location, or an event or business in the area.
- Unless otherwise permitted, standard hours of operation for work within the County right-of-way are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Work is prohibited during morning and evening commuter rush hours, 7 a.m.-9 a.m. and 4 p.m.-6 p.m., respectively.
- As stated above, upon permit expiration, all work must cease. The permittee must remove equipment, unless a permit extension is requested a minimum of three (3) business days prior to the expiration date.
- Weekend work hours, if requested, will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Night work—9 p.m.-7 a.m. on weekdays, 9 p.m.-10 a.m. on weekends—requires that an exemption request to the Noise Control Ordinance be submitted to Code Enforcement in addition to securing the necessary right-of-way permits.
Fee Schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for ISD, Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.
If site conditions could result in death, injury or damage to property or prevent the safe functioning of a street or a pedestrian or parking system, they require immediate (within 24-48 hours) remediation. In such cases, the contractor may start work, then apply for an emergency excavation ROW permit on the first available regular business day after work commences. When applying for the emergency excavation ROW permit, the contractor must include a valid VA 811 (Miss Utility) ticket number as part of the application process. The permit will be retroactive to the date when the work began. Commencing emergency excavation within the County right-of-way without a permit as allowed herein implies acceptance of all requirements and conditions set forth in the Arlington County Code, construction standards, and the special conditions, regulations and instructions.