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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

faqGroupLookupString: County of Santa Clara, Roads and Airports Dept.
County of Santa Clara, Roads and Airports Dept.
Encroachment Permit: Application Requirements
  1. Applicant to complete a permit application form. Permits are issued to the owner of the property or the owner of the utility i.e., in the case of a utility, P.G.&E., San Jose Water Company, etc..
  2. Owner to sign and date the Worker's Compensation Acknowledgement Form that is provided by the Roads and Airports Department or submit a copy of the contractor's workmen's compensation insurance.
  3. Applicant to submit four (4) copies of their plans (include site plan) pertaining to the work within the County's right of way. Also, submit four (4) copies of your traffic control plans for projects that are located within County expressway systems or principal arterial roadways. Additional copies may be required depending on the nature and location of the project. Plan sheets should be no larger than 24" X 36". If other jurisdictions are involved, we will need evidence that they have been notified (such as a copy of a sanitary sewer "connect order" or copy of your P.G&E. agreement, etc.). The following guidelines should be used for plan submittals:
    • Vicinity Map
    • Site Plan Showing:
      • North Arrow
      • Engineer's Scale
      • County right of way limits (existing and proposed)
      • Edges of roadway pavement
      • Road lane lines and lane widths
      • Curb & Gutter and Sidewalk (if applicable)
      • Show any existing trees located within the right of way
      • If your project includes tree removal, label the tree's species, its trunk diameter (measured 4'6" from grade), its overall height and provide a photograph of the tree. Also, include a brief written statement which includes the reasons for the removal of the tree.
      • Existing and proposed drainage ditches (if applicable)
      • Existing and proposed storm drainage system (if applicable)
      • Existing and proposed street lights, traffic signals, loops and cabinets (if in the vicinity of your project)
      • Driveway approach location(s) - Include on site plan
      • Show existing utilities (i.e., pole locations, down guys, etc.)
    • For bore and jack or directional bore operations, in addition to the above:
      • Show the size and location of your sending and receiving pits. Pits must be located outside of the paved portions of expressway pavement.
      • Show the size and location of potholes that will be used to monitor your operation when crossing existing utilities such as a gas main.
    • For work within county expressways:
      • Submit four (4) copies of a traffic control plan. Your traffic control plan must be in accordance with the Caltrans standard plans.
  4. Applicant to submit a cost estimate for the value of the work being performed within the County's right of way.
  5. Applicant to submit the permit fee and plan check fee. Fees are based on the valuation of the work and the Board of Supervisor's adopted fee schedule.
  6. Permit applications will be reviewed by a Roads and Airports Department's representative. Please allow for a 2 to 3 week review period.
  7. Once the application has been approved, an encroachment permit may be issued. Depending on the type of project, a performance bond may be required.

Encroachment permit applicants may contact a Roads and Airports Department's representative at (408) 299-2198 for information regarding the permit process or the status of their permit application.
Note: This information is to serve as a guideline for encroachment permit applicants. Additional information (some examples: elevations, drainage calculations prepared by a registered civil engineer, sight distance plan prepared by a registered civil engineer, cross sections, etc.) may be required, depending on the size and scope of the project.

How do I actuate the traffic signal with my bicycle?
​There are two possible means to actuate the signal for a bicycle. Most of our signals utilize Loop Detectors (see above) They all should be sensitive to bicycles. Bicycles have very little metal compared to a car so the influence they have on the detection device is very small. It is best to pass through the center of the loop area passing across the loop wire at a 45 degree angle. If the loop is visible on the surface of the pavement due to the patching of the saw slot this may be easy. If the loop is not visible, there may be a painted outline where the loop is located. Another way bicycles can actuate the signals is a bicycle pushbutton. These are usually adjacent to the right lane and have a special bicycle symbol on the information plate by the button. The pedestrian pushbutton may also be used.
Encroachment Permit: What Is An Encroachment Permit?
​An encroachment permit is a written permit authorizing certain work to be done within a County publicly maintained right of way. A construction permit is issued in lieu of an encroachment permit when the public right of way or easement in which the work is being performed is not maintained by the County's Roads and Airports Department and is within the County's jurisdiction.
Encroachment Permit: Workers' Compensation Acknowledgement

County of Santa Clara

Roads and Airports Department
Planning Office
County Government Center, East Wing, 7th Floor
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, California 95110-1705
Phone (408) 299-2198 FAX (408) 947-1165
(Owner's Form)
I, the undersigned, certify that I am familiar with California Labor Code Section 3800, covering the
Certificate of Insurance or a consent to self-insure for workers' compensation insurance as a condition to
the issuance of a permit by the County.
I certify that in the performance of the work for which this permit is issued, I shall not employ any person
in any manner so as to conflict with the workers' compensation laws of California.
              Owner's Signature:_________________________________
If applicable, reference your Plan Check and/or Land Development File Number
                Plan Check Number:________________________________

Land Development File Number:________________________________
Board of Supervisors: Donald F Gage, Blanca Alvarado, Pete McHugh, James T Beall Jr., S Joseph Simitian
County Executive: Richard Wittenberg
Encroachment Permit: When Is An Encroachment Permit Required?

​An encroachment permit must be obtained prior to commencing any work within a County publicly maintained right of way, including County Expressways.


Examples of work requiring an encroachment permit:
  • Street and drainage improvements for major and minor subdivisions, and major and minor commercial development.
  • Expressway sound wall installation.
  • Traffic signal installation.
  • Installation of new underground utilities, i.e., water, electrical, gas, sewer, TV cable installation.
  • Repair and maintenance of utility services.
  • A driveway approach for either residential, commercial or agricultural property access.
  • Tree removal/tree trimming.
  • Drainage/culvert installation.
  • Installation of landscaping water lines.
  • Sidewalk repair/installation.
  • Traffic control, i.e., filming in right of way, certain special events, work requiring auto or pedestrian traffic diversion.
  • Street closure, i.e., certain special events, block parties, work requiring temporary closure of traffic lanes.

When a public right of way or easement is not publicly maintained by the Roads and Airports Department, an encroachment permit is not required. However, you may need to obtain a construction permit. Please contact the Surveyor's office at (408) 299-2871 for further information regarding construction permits.

  • A driveway approach for either residential, commercial or agricultural property access.
  • Tree removal/tree trimming.
  • Drainage/culvert installation.
  • Installation of landscaping water lines.
  • Sidewalk repair

Encroachment Permit: How Do I Apply?

​Applications must be submitted to the Roads & Airports Department at the Planning Office, located on the 7th floor, East Wing of the County Administration Building at 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose, 95110.

Application requirements:

  • Signed Master Land Development Application.
  • Four site plans drawn to scale which include a location map and clearly defined work to be done in a County right of way.
  • The appropriate fees.
  • Signed Workers Compensation Certificate (if applicable).
  • Certificate of Insurance (if applicable).
  • Engineer's cost estimate of work within County right of way (if applicable).


Encroachment Permit: How Long Does The Process Take?
​The permit evaluation process is normally complete within two weeks of the date of submittal of a complete application. However, this time frame may be extended if additional information is required from the applicant.
How does the traffic signal respond to the presence of vehicles at the intersection?
​Most traffic signals are traffic responsive utilizing some kind of vehicle detection system to provide information to the control system about the presence of vehicles at the intersection. This detection is usually by means of wires embedded in the pavement which act like metal detectors used to find coins at the beach. These are commonly called "Loop Detectors." When a metal object passes over the wires in the roadway a signal is sent to the control equipment which modifies the operation of the signal based on the presence of the vehicle. There are other means of detection that may be used such as microwave, sonic, and video detection. Video detection is becoming very popular as a means of vehicle detection.
faqGroupLookupString: Office of County Surveyor
Office of County Surveyor
Encroachment Permit: How Is The Application Processed?
A Roads & Airports Department representative at the Planning Office will review and evaluate the application and the submitted information. If the site requires a field investigation or special review, such investigation shall be completed prior to issuance of the encroachment permit. The evaluation process may include review by other departments due to the type of proposed work.
Last updated: 6/22/2017 5:23 PM