print header

Right of Way

Requirements and Policies for Installation and Repair of Utilities in Knox County Right-of-ways

Agencies or companies  desiring to make road cuts must apply for a permit from the Knox County Engineering & Public Works Department at least 3 working days prior to desired work date. Applications may be faxed or emailed (, but must be followed by hard copy. No work will commence without written approval of the Director, Knox County Engineering & Public Works or his designated representative.  Permits will be evaluated and returned within 3 working days. Knox County  will attempt to arrange a joint on-site meeting the first working day  after receiving the application. If the joint meeting is delayed, approval  of the permit will be delayed accordingly.

All agencies that routinely perform work in the non-traveled-way portion of the right-of way will apply for and receive an annual permit prior to beginning any work. Annual permits will be renewed on January 5 th of each year. Permits are required for belowground and aboveground work. Blank permit applications may be obtained from the Department office, at 205 W. Baxter Ave., Knoxville or as attached here.

Any time work is performed on or adjacent to any road in Knox  County, safety will be the primary consideration. Safety considerations will extend to the travelling public, local bystanders, and work crews. Work crews will strictly adhere to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Part VI, Work Zone Safety. Any crew failing to meet these criteria will have their permits revoked immediately until such time as discrepancies are rectified.

Applications will contain:

  • Identification and location of  project (specific)
  • Description of work (drawings  may be attached)
  • Scope of work
  • Alternatives to cutting
  • Date of work
  • Written permission from other  utilities that may be affected.

The following are minimum requirements for operations in the Right-of-way:

  • Tennessee-One calls will be  made prior to beginning any project to avoid damage to  existing facilities.
  • All utilities in the  right-of-way shall be a minimum of  thirty (30) inches deep.  When manufacturers' specifications require greater  cover, they will supercede the 30" minimum.
  • All overhead utilities will be  a minimum of 16 feet above the surface.
  • All aboveground utilities will  be a minimum of four (4) feet  from the edge of the traveled  way.
  • The installer will attempt to  bore or jack under all roadways prior to being permitted to  cut the surface.
  • All cuts in the existing road surface shall be approved by Knox County and will repaired in accordance with the specifications below.
    Road Cut Specs
  • All asphalt patches will be  "burned" in. Resurfacing operations will be  accomplished with a paving machine.
  • All cuts in the shoulder will  be a minimum of 2' from the traveled surface. They will  be backfilled in 8"lifts, compacted to  95% RC. All work  will be dressed, seeded and stabilized (straw or  geotextile)  within 72 hours of completion of work.
  • Knox County Engineering & Public Works will be notified prior to beginning work and upon completion. The Knox County District Supervisor  will inspect and approve the work.
  • The agency or person securing the permit will guarantee the work for 1 year after acceptance by Knox County. This guarantee will include  maintenance and repair labor and materials.
    Effective Date: March 1, 1998

  • Facebook
  • twitter
  • rss
  • email

& Public Works

205 West Baxter Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917

Phone: 865-215-5800
Fax: 865-215-5810

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email