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  Highway Access Permits

>> Access over Unconstructed Rights-of-Way
>> Commercial Access
>> Resource and Industrial Road Access
>> Access to a Controlled Access Highway
>> Residential and Agricultural Access
>> Snowmobile Trails within Highway Rights of Way

Highway access permits are required for all accesses except single residential driveways on side roads. Controlled Access Highways carry stringent requirements for access, with a preference for an alternate access to your development. A List of Controlled Access Highways is available here, to see whether these requirements apply to you.

Applications for highway access shall include a completed permit application form, supporting details and documents.

Site Plans

Traffic site plans should show what the finished project will look like, including access design , parking layout and new structures.

What you show on your proposal plans will depend on the magnitude of your development. For simpler developments, such as application for the driveway to your residence, the plans may be simple. Requests for access to a commercial, industrial, or multi-family development will require the preparation of a more detailed traffic site plan.

Site plans should contain all the information in the above diagram, including:

  1. a full description of the property
  2. the posted speed limit
  3. a north arrow
  4. the distance from the new entrance to the nearest side road or edge of property
  5. the width of the right-of-way
  6. existing entrances in the vicinity
  7. the dimensions and area of the development parcel
  8. the names and widths of side roads
  9. the distance to the nearest town or road junction

In addition, the plans should be:

  • drawn to scale
  • show the location of existing buildings and improvements

Traffic Site Plans

Traffic Site Plans should show what the finished project will look like, including access design, parking layout and new structures. Commercial Access has an example of a traffic site plan.

Development Approvals staff will review your application to ensure that the development meets with certain design criteria and safety standards, including:

A Development Approvals technician may contact you to:

  • discuss details of your development
  • obtain further information
  • discuss layout considerations which would address concerns
  • flag the location of the proposed access

Section 2: Approval Process contains more information about the approval process.

Highway Frontage

To obtain a highway access permit, the property must have frontage on a dedicated public road constructed to a suitable standard.

If you require access for land not having highway frontage, give the legal description of the other parcel involved, including the name of the owner(s).

Apply for a highway access permit.



Access Over Unconstructed Rights-of-Way

You can proceed with construction of access over an unconstructed right-of-way, but the Ministry of Transportation will not maintain any part of it. If you choose to go ahead, the Ministry asks you not to disturb any water courses, nor cut any trees on the unconstructed right-of-way.

Apply for a permit to build the access. The Ministry can provide a Letter of Comfort, if requested, so that you can obtain a building permit.


Commercial Access

In large developments, the following factors frequently govern driveway locations:

  • the need for adequate storage lengths in left-turn lanes
  • auxiliary right turn lanes
  • operational conflict with intersections or other developments

All commercial developments will be checked to determine if a transportation design report is required. The parking layout diagrams below give a simple introduction to the issues that you and the Ministry of Transportation need to consider.

As planning a commercial access can be a complex undertaking, please contact the local District Transportation Office and ask for development approvals staff. In addition, you can find more information in the Planning and Designing Access to Developments Manual.

The minimum desired spacing between driveways depends on the classification of road, and reflects the differences in operating characteristics and desired levels of service for each road class.

Apply for an ordinary highway access permit.


Resource and Industrial Road Access

Resource and Industrial Crossings are regulated according to Section 5 of the Industrial Roads Act.

In resource and industrial crossings, the following factors frequently govern access considerations:

  • the need for adequate storage lengths in left-turn lanes
  • auxiliary right turn lanes
  • operational conflict with intersections or other developments

  1. The company submits plans, profiles and other specifications that may be required to the appropriate Ministry of Transportation district office. Resource and industrial road developments will be checked to determine if a transportation design report is required.
  2. The district approvals technician reviews the application.
  3. The district approvals technician prepares and signs the necessary certificate for the company. The file is retained at the office of the District Transportation Office.
  4. No permit shall be issued for a period longer than five years.

Apply for an ordinary highway access permit.

Access to a Controlled Access Highway

For highways which have been designated as "controlled access" under Section 48 of the Transportation Act, a Controlled Access Permit is required. See Controlled Access Highways for more details on regulatory authorities.

See a list of controlled access highways , to determine if you need a controlled access permit.

The Ministry developed the Controlled Access Permit process so that it could:

  • protect public investment in the major transportation network by preserving its traffic carrying capacity
  • minimize hazardous traffic conditions arising out of the location and use of accesses
  • make sure that driveway or access designs are adequate for the type and amount of traffic which will use them
  • ensure roadside drainage is not obstructed

For these reasons, development applications will be checked to determine if a transportation design report is required.

Check with the Planning Department of your local government to see that the land use which you want the driveway to serve is permitted within their zoning or land use guidelines.

In all cases, alternate access for the proposed development will be required where a secondary street system exists rather than allowing direct access to a Controlled Access Highway (see Section 5.2.7 Planning & Designing Access to Developments Manual.)

The Ministry will consider access to a Controlled Access Highway only where:

  • it has been proven that no other reasonable alternative exists
  • direct access or limited direct access would provide better overall performance of the study area network roads
  • direct access does not impede the safety of the traveling public

Where direct access is allowed, the development design should be able to take advantage of future alternate access when it is available.

Following the review, Ministry staff may prepare a permit containing all the applicable terms and conditions which must be met in conjunction with the construction of the access(es). You will receive the permit, or in the event that the permit is withheld, you will receive a letter outlining the reasons your application was refused. If you believe that the reasons for refusal can be surmounted by revised design or layout considerations, contact the District Transportation Office.

Apply for a controlled access permit.


Residential and Agricultural Access

On numbered routes and controlled access highways, you need a permit to construct any driveway or other highway access. If you are planning to build a single family driveway on a side road outside a municipality, then you do not need a permit. The Ministry of Transportation has provided a Residential Driveway Information Guide to assist you with design and construction of your driveway.

Residential Accesses on Numbered Routes and Controlled Access Highways

If you are building a single-family driveway, you may still find the Residential Driveway Information Guide mentioned above helpful. You will need to pay extra attention to sight distances on numbered routes.

Multi-Family accesses will be checked to determine if a transportation design report is required. Ask your District Development Technician for more details.

Agricultural Driveways

Agricultural Driveways require a permit for construction. If you propose to use large agricultural equipment or access fields and barns with the driveway, you probably need an agricultural driveway. Land use is specified in the application.

Fruit Stand Accesses

Fruit and vegetable stands are a common sight in the agricultural areas of the province. They range in size from seasonal roadside booths to larger commercial buildings selling a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They are located on numbered (controlled access) highways and on side roads throughout the Okanagan Valley and other parts of the province. They attract locals and tourists alike. Some of the larger stands have become regular stops for tour bus operations. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation has developed special conditions which apply to fruit stand accesses.

As a commercial operation, fruit stand accesses may be 9 metres (30 feet) in width and two accesses may be permissible, if required for traffic circulation. In addition to the normal access considerations (such as drainage, sight distance and driveway surfacing), concrete roadside barriers (CRBs) may be required to define and separate the access locations. There must be adequate parking available on site so that customers are not parking on the shoulders of the public road. Larger fruit stand operations may require parking spaces suitable for longer recreational vehicles and tour buses.

For further information on fruit stand accesses, please contact the local district office of the Ministry of Transportation.

Apply for an ordinary access permit.


Snowmobile Trails within Highway Rights of Way

To assist in the development of snowmobile trails through out the province, the Ministry of Transportation has developed guidelines on how and where snowmobile trails can be accommodated within a provincial highway right of way.

Location of Trails:

For safety purposes, due to the interaction of snowmobiles and motor vehicle traffic, snowmobile trails should be located outside of the highway right of way wherever possible. However, the ministry realizes that in some situations, due to physical constraints such as rivers or cliffs, snowmobile trails cannot operate outside of the highway right of way. Therefore, the Ministry of Transportation will allow snowmobile trails within the highway right of way under certain conditions.

Conditions for trails within right of way:

All snowmobile trails located within a highway right of way must be approved by the Ministry of Transportation. Decisions on wherever to allow a snowmobile trail within a highway right of way will be based on the following criteria:

• The speed of the motor vehicle traffic;

• The amount of motor vehicle traffic;

• The available sight distance – both for motor vehicles traffic and snowmobiles;

• The trail length within the highway right of way;

• The available space between the trail and highway if running parallel to each other; and

• The width of the highway at trail crossings.

Approved snowmobile trails must ensure the safe operation of the trail and the highway. Some of the requirements for constructing a snowmobile trail include:

• Alignment of trail crossings as close to 90 degrees as possible to the highway;

• The ongoing maintenance of snow banks at highway crossings to ensure sight distances; and

• The use of culverts to cross ditches.

The ministry has developed detailed guidelines outlining the conditions for snowmobile trails. For further information, contact your District Transportation Office.

RCMP issued permit requirement:

The Motor Vehicle Act Regulations states that no person shall drive or operate a snow vehicle or snowmobile on a highway in unorganized areas of the Province unless he is the holder of a permit issued by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stationed nearest to the place where such operation will take place.

Therefore, to operate a snowmobile on a trail within highway right of way the operator must obtain a permit. The purpose of the permit is to ensure that the snowmobile has been registered, licensed and has proper insurance. The permit also makes sure that the operator of the snowmobile has a valid driver’s license.