PennDOT HOP and Transmission Lines
The PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit (“HOP”) is one of the most common third-party approvals during the land development process. If a state route is needed for an access road, it makes sense that PennDOT wants to have the final say when it comes to the design specifics of the connection to that state route. We understand that PennDOT controls connections to state routes, but does PennDOT control everything that interacts with state routes? What about transmission lines that cross a state route? This question took a little bit of digging.
The first threshold question is whether the state route is a limited-access highway. If the state route is a limited access highway, a HOP will be required no matter what. Here is a map where you can filter for limited-access highways. The second question, assuming the state route is not a limited-access highway, concerns the location of the utility poles supporting the transmission lines. If the utility poles are within the state route’s right-of-way, a HOP will be required. If the utility poles are not within the state-route’s right-of-way, a HOP will not be required. In the latter case, there is no disturbance of the state right-of-way and therefore no requirement to get a HOP from PennDOT. The electrical lines are only passing the air space above the PennDOT right-of-way. This is not a waiver but an exception from the permit requirements.
Take a look at page 104 from the PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit Operations Manual here, which explains this scenario and other similarly related scenarios. The link for the full manual and other helpful information can be found here.
COMMUNITY SOLAR UPDATE: We all anxiously await any positive movement on the various PA community solar bills. Here is the most recent status of House Bill 1555 and here is the most recent status of Senate Bill 472.
If you have other specific questions about transmission lines and HOP, other third-party approvals, renewable energy, or anything related or unrelated, please don’t hesitate to call our firm at (717-845-1524) or email Andy Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cory Dillinger (email@example.com) with any questions or comments.