Section 4: Driveway Permits, Design, and Materials

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Physical obstructions and influence on traffic caused by the presence and use of access driveways to property along the highways make it necessary that they be controlled for the safe movement of normal highway traffic. This section describes the Department's criteria for the construction and maintenance of private, public, and commercial driveways. The purpose is to accomplish a coordinated development between the highway and the abutting property which it serves. It is essential that entrances or exits of adequate design be provided for abutting properties, especially commercial properties, in order that ingress and egress may be made as safe as possible to the traveling public, and to those who patronize the roadside commercial establishments.

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To obtain a permit to construct a driveway or to revise any existing driveway, the applicant should contact the local District TxDOT office. The applicant shall complete and submit to TxDOT a Form 1058, Permit to Construct Access Driveway Facilities on Highway Right of Way, which must include a description of the proposed work, the applicant's name, mailing address, telephone number and location of the proposed driveway. Applications for permits shall be made by the property owner or their authorized representative, who shall represent all parties in interest. Applications for permits shall be made only for the bona fide purpose of securing or changing access to the owner's property, but not for the purpose of parking or servicing vehicles on state highway rights of way.

No construction work on the driveway shall be undertaken on the right of way until a fully executed driveway permit has been received by the applicant and the applicant has given 24-hour notification to TxDOT.

A driveway must be constructed in accordance with a fully executed driveway permit and all applicable regulations. A TxDOT inspector will review the driveway construction to determine if it is acceptable or if modifications are needed. A driveway will be considered an authorized permitted driveway installation only after construction has been completed and the construction has been determined to be satisfactory to TxDOT.

Where a local public agency has been granted access driveway permitting authority to state highways, the granting of permit authority does not preclude the need for properly engineering access driveways. Any impacts to drainage on the state highway system resulting from installation of access driveways must be coordinated with and approved by TxDOT prior to any local approval. Consideration also needs to be given to driveway geometrics, utility location or relocation, environmental requirements, wetlands considerations (if appropriate) and the need to follow all applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS).

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Driveway Design

All parts of entrances and exits on highway right of way, including the radii, shall be confined within the permittee's property frontage. Frontage is that portion of the right of way lying between two most distant possible lines drawn perpendicularly from the centerline of the highway to the permittee's abutting property line.

When the permittees of two or more adjoining properties agree to combine their property frontage for a shared access driveway, the combination would be encouraged and authorized under the applicable regulations. The frontage will then be the portion of the right of way lying between the two most distant possible lines of the combined frontage drawn perpendicularly from the centerline of the highway to the permittees' abutting property lines.

At any intersection of a state highway with another highway, road, or street where the existing right of way is flared or widened to allow for additional sight distance, no access driveway will be permitted within the flared or widened right of way section.

Fixed objects will not be allowed in the highway right of way.

The angle of the driveway from the highway pavement shall be 75 to 90 degrees, except that one-way 45 to 90 degree angle driveways will be permitted for connections to one-way frontage roads or lane divided highways.

All driveway construction shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines and Texas Accessibility Standards requirements and standards. The applicant shall provide appropriate access as determined by TxDOT regardless of the presence of adjacent sidewalks.

The width of a private residential driveway shall not exceed 24 feet measured at right angles to the centerline of the driveway, except as increased by permissible radii. The radius connecting the driveway to the highway pavement shall not be less than 15 feet.

A typical design for a private farm/ranch driveway should provide a 25-feet return radii and a 20-feet throat width. The distance from the edge of the highway pavement to a gate must be sufficient to store the longest vehicle, or combination of vehicles anticipated for use of the property. At a minimum, this distance should accommodate a pickup truck with trailer.

The width of a commercial driveway and the radius of curvature connecting the driveway to highway pavement may vary in size depending on traffic and location and should be selected in accordance with Appendix C of the Roadway Design Manual.

A divided commercial driveway having a one-way in and a one-way out, must provide for a raised separation (4-inch height) between the entry and exit lanes. The separation area may be landscaped or may contain a surface material having a contrasting color to the driveway pavement that will be highly visible to motorists. An excessively wide raised separator may be confusing to motorists and may appear to be two closely spaced two-way driveways. To avoid this problem, the maximum allowable width of a raised separator in a divided driveway is 15 feet. Exceptions to the raised separation requirements must be approved by TxDOT.

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Drainage in highway side ditches shall not be altered or impeded. When drainage structures are required, the size and other design features shall be approved by TxDOT.

Access driveways shall be constructed to match the grade of the highway pavement edge or the shoulder edge if a shoulder is present. The driveway shall be designed and constructed in such a manner as to not impede the flow of water away from the highway pavement.

If the driveway is approved to be constructed at grade through the roadside ditch or natural grade of the roadside, the driveway shall be paved with a stabilized all weather surface material acceptable to TxDOT to conform to the cross section shape of the ditch or other natural grade of the roadside to form a stable driveway. An exception to using stabilized new surface may be approved by TxDOT if the roadside or ditch is naturally stabilized with rock which may be driven on without eroding or rutting in all types of weather.

Safety end treatments will be used for all driveways with drainage structures constructed within the highway right of way. The side slopes of the driveways must not be greater then the slope of the required safety end treatment and shall match the slope of the safety end treatment at the junction of the two. Approved safety end treatments may be found at standard CAD drawing under Bridge Standards for Safety End Treatments. The most frequently used standard is 'Parallel Drainage for 12"-72" Diameter.' These can be found under Bridge Standards (English), Safety End Treatments. The design requirements of the safety end treatments are as follows:

  • There shall be no culvert headwalls or similar vertical ends.
  • Ends shall be sloped at 6:1 (6 horizontal to 1 vertical) or flatter, with concrete riprap to prevent erosion and to protect the pipe end.
  • The access driveway embankment slope shall be 6:1 maximum, with 8:1 preferred beginning at the edge of the driveway pavement.
  • For pipes greater than 30 inches in diameter or multiple pipes with individual diameters greater than 24 inches, grates shall be provided with maximum slope of 6:1 or a preferred slope of 8:1. Cross-pipes are not required on small (single pipes having a diameter of 30 inches or less) structures regardless of end location with respect to the horizontal clearance requirements; however, the ends of small structures shall be sloped and provided with concrete riprap as described above.

A ditch within the highway right of way may be filled in with dirt or other approved material, provided that prior TxDOT approval is obtained and the following conditions are met:

  • The property along the right-of-way frontage has two or more permitted driveways that are in compliance with the "Number, Location and Spacing of Access Connections" requirements described in Section 3 of this chapter.
  • Surface drainage shall be provided so that all surface water on the filled-in area shall be carried away from the highway roadbed in a suitable manner.
  • The design of a drainage structure underneath the filled-in area shall be adequate to carry the flow of water in the highway ditches.
  • The filled-in area shall be sufficiently delineated and, where required by TxDOT, delineation or other satisfactory methods shall be used to prevent the use of the area for parking or travel. The area shall be kept free of obstructions.
  • The filled-in area shall extend from the right-of-way line to the edge of pavement, edge of shoulder or back of curb as the case may be. Other requirements may be imposed by TxDOT for filled-in areas in order to conform with planned future improvements to the existing highway section.
  • The filled-in area and safety end treatment on the drainage structure may not extend beyond the boundary line of the permittee's property without written consent of the adjoining property owner whose property will contain the extension.
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The permittee shall furnish all materials necessary for the construction of the access driveways and all appurtenances authorized by the permit. All materials shall be of satisfactory quality and shall be subject to inspection and approval by TxDOT. Access driveways shall be paved with a stabilized all weather surface material acceptable to TxDOT to prevent tracking mud onto the highway and to prevent damage to the edge of the roadway from vehicles using the driveway.

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