City of Dubuque, IA

Robert McDonald

Step 1 of 2 - Terms and Conditions



April 5, 2012






PURPOSE:  The purpose of this policy is to establish consistent standards and procedures for the excavation, backfill, maintenance and administration of work performed in the public right-of-way to protect the health, safety and welfare of those working and traveling the rights-of-way.




Certified Competent Person for Excavation Safety

A competent person is defined as one who is capable of identifying existing or predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are hazardous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.  When applied to trenching or excavation operations, the “Competent Person” must have specific training in, and be knowledgeable about, soil analysis, the use of protective systems, and the requirements of OSHA standards.  In addition, the “Competent Person” must have the authority to take immediate action if a hazard exists.



A temporary prohibition of traffic across public right-of-way.



Excavation means an operation in which a structure or earth, rock, or other material in or on the ground is moved, removed, or compressed, or otherwise displaced by means of any tools, equipment or explosives and includes, but is not limited to grading, trenching, tiling, digging, ditching, drilling, augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing, driving, and demolition of structures. 



Hot Mix Asphalt



Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices



Brick removed from the excavated area, salvaged for the restoration. 



Occupational Safety & Health Administration



Area shown on the official plat which is dedicated for use by the public.  This may include but not be limited to any street, alley, park lawn area, sidewalk, easement, lot or parcel.



Statewide Urban Design & Specifications







1.1       No person, company or corporation shall make any excavation, cut into or remove any portion of the public right-of-way, or improvements thereon, which includes streets, pavement, curbs, alleys, sidewalks, park lawn areas, retaining walls or public place, without first obtaining a permit from the Engineering Department.  The permit holder shall be responsible for compliance with this policy, SUDAS, as well as all City Ordinances, with special attention to Title 10, Chapter 2 Excavations, all applicable City of Dubuque SUDAS 2020 Supplemental Specifications, City of Dubuque Street Tree & Landscaping Policy, and Erosion Control Policy & Illicit Discharge Ordinance.



1.2     Request for permit shall be completed online at or filed at the Office of the City Engineer, City Hall, 50 W. 13th, Dubuque, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (563) 589-4270 and shall be filed at least 48 hours in advance of the anticipated start of construction. Notification information must indicate the location and estimated dimension of the proposed excavation, permit holder name and address, purpose of excavation, owner of property for which work is being performed, time and date the excavation will be initiated, traffic controls, and such other information as the City Manager shall require to determine whether a permit should be issued.  Notification to the City by the excavator DOES NOT authorize approval or permit any work to be performed in the public right-of-way.  City Engineering will notify the requesting party when all pertinent information has been received and reviewed as to the status of approval.  Permit and approval is site specific and does not carry over to any associated projects, phases or work.


1.3       Projects that are not at one specific location, but are larger in scope, must be submitted a minimum two weeks (2) in advance to allow for proper review and investigation.


1.4       IOWA ONE CALL:  The Iowa Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act, Chapter 480, Iowa Code is made a part of this policy.  The law requires persons excavating to contact the one call system at least 48 hours prior to any excavation.  Iowa One Call contact is 1-800-292-8989 or 811. Common Ground Alliance Best Practices are supported and recommended as part of this policy.


1.5       City of Dubuque Code of Ordinance Section 6-5-1(G) states: Pile Drivers, Hammers: The operation of any pile driver, pneumatic hammer, derrick, power hoist or other construction equipment, except between the hours of eight o'clock (8:00) A.M. and six o'clock (6:00) P.M., Monday through Friday, and nine o'clock (9:00) A.M. and six o'clock (6:00) P.M., Saturday and Sunday, and when so permitted, only if equipped with an effective muffling device.


1.6       No work shall commence until the permit has been authorized by the Engineering Department and Iowa One Call and all utilities have been marked or have notified the permit holder.  The permit will be valid only for the location, date and time specified.  The permit holder shall give at least 48 hours notice prior to the start of any excavation activity, along with a tentative schedule for backfilling operations and pavement replacements  to allow sufficient time for the City to schedule compaction testing, inspect the excavation prior to, and for, pavement replacement for conformance to City specifications.


1.7       If an emergency excavation is necessary after normal working hours, the permit holder shall notify Police Dispatch (563) 589-4415 and give the location and nature of the emergency prior to starting work.  The excavator must contact the Engineering Department by noon on the next business day to apply for the required permit.



1.8       FAILURE TO OBTAIN PROPER PERMITS or comply with provisions of this policy may result in double permit charges plus removal from the approved excavation contractor list; and could lead to the issuance of a municipal infraction with a $750 charge per day in accordance with City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances Section 10-2-1 Permit Requirements and Section 1-4-2 Civil Penalty.


1.9       FAILURE TO COMPLETE WORK, may result in the City, after written notice to the permit holder, and no response from the permit holder, performing the necessary work to complete the excavation, including surface restoration, and assessing all costs associated to the permit holder in accordance with City of Dubuque Code of Ordinances Section 10-2-1 Permit Requirements.




2.1       No permit will be issued to any person, company or corporation without an approved policy of insurance that complies with the current City of Dubuque Insurance Schedule.  Proper insurance is required for contractors performing work in the public right-of-way.  This includes but is not limited to excavators, plumbers, electricians, surface restoration, drillers, directional boring or trenching contractors.  Any other insurance required by federal, state or local agencies are the responsibility of the contractor, unless otherwise indicated by the City Engineer.


2.2       A Certificate of Insurance must be updated, renewed and submitted each year.  For more information contact the City of Dubuque Finance Department, Finance Director, at (563) 589-4130, or the City of Dubuque Engineering Department, Project Manager, (563) 589-4270. Contractors undertaking work on behalf of the City must comply with the federal Consent Decree, a copy of which can be found at on the City’s website.




3.1       The permit holder shall be responsible for the payment of the permit fee and any pavement restoration fees if the Public Works Department performs the final street patch.  These fees are subject to change depending upon the City’s cost of providing the service.


3.2       Current Excavation Permit and Street Division fees are as follows:



            RATE:                                     $0.75/S.F.      

            MINIMUM                                $50.00                                                

            MAXIMUM                              $1,000.00 (case by case basis)



HMA                                        $0.75/S.F.       plus                 $6.55/S.F.*

            HMA OVER CONCRETE       $0.75/S.F.       plus                 $8.55/S.F.*

            CONCRETE                           $0.75/S.F.       plus                 $8.00/S.F.*

            BRICK                                     $0.75/S.F.       plus                 $12.00/S.F.*

                                                                                      *(Add’t Traffic Control $ may be added)




            RATE:                         $0.75/S.F. entrance/exit excavation areas + $0.50/L.F. trench/boring

            CORING                     $50.00 per core 

            MINIMUM                   $50.00 

            MAXIMUM                  $1,000 + entrance/exit excavation areas

            Record Drawings Required (Autocad Compatible; pdf or as-built paper copy)




4.1      If a hazardous damage occurs:

·      Call 911 immediately,

·      Contact the utility company whose property has been hit. 

·      Any person excavating and causing damage to any underground utility may be charged with a municipal infraction or face a civil penalty, from either the City of Dubuque or the Iowa Attorney General's Office




5.1       Reference and compliance is required of, but not limited to, City Code of Ordinance Title 10, Chapter 2, Excavations, SUDAS, and all applicable City of Dubuque SUDAS 2020 Supplemental Specifications, City of Dubuque Street Tree & Landscaping Policy, and Erosion Control Policy & Illicit Discharge Ordinance. 


5.2       The permit holder shall adhere to all rules and regulations of OSHA.


5.2.1    The Permit holder will be required to have a Certified Competent Person For Excavation Safety available to make sure that all trenching and excavations are performed in a safe manner when working within the City rights-of-way.


5.2.2    City staff is required by City of Dubuque Administrative Policy 5.03, relative to observation of a potential OSHA excavation safety violation, to advise the permit holder’s representative at the site that a city employee is required to report such observations to the City inspector’s supervisor for possible further action.


5.3       The methods, equipment and tools used shall produce a satisfactory quality of work to comply with SUDAS and the City of Dubuque SUDAS 2020 Supplemental Specifications and shall be adequate to maintain the schedule of progress specified in the permit.  The City Engineer may require the permit holder to demonstrate that the permit holder has sufficient equipment and manpower available to perform the work.


5.4       If over one (1) acre is disturbed during any activity (including stockpile areas) a general permit through Department of Natural Resources along with the City’s Erosion & Sediment Control Permit (ESC) shall be required.  For other instances, the City of Dubuque Illicit Discharge ordinance states that material storage is to be placed and protected in such a manner as to not be washed or run off into the street, drainage ditch, or any part of a stormwater system.  No concrete material or any other non-stormwater substance is to be washed into any part of the stormwater system.  Protection of the stormwater system is required and the method must follow best management practices.  Penalty and fines will be levied for such violations as provided in the Illicit Discharge Ordinance.


5.5       HMA surface replacement larger than a 9 sq. ft. of area shall have the base course compacted with a plate compactor.  The final course shall be rolled with an HMA roller with the minimum centrifugal force of 5,500 pounds per drum.  Areas larger than 500 s.f. the HMA shall be placed with a paver.


5.6       The permit holder shall notify IOWA ONE CALL and all utility companies and other parties affected by the work, and shall be wholly responsible for damage to adjacent utilities and other public or private property.   Door tags or letter notifications with all pertinent information must be placed at all affected properties.


5.7       The permit holder shall comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and ordinances governing safety, health, pollution and sanitation, and shall make available such additional safeguards, safety devices, protective equipment, and take such actions as are reasonably necessary to protect the life and health of the permit holder’s employees and the public.


5.8       When more than one excavation or a series of continuous excavations is required to complete the project within a City block, there must be at least 10’ feet between the excavations, without undermining, or a continuous cut will be required unless otherwise approved by the City Engineer.  City Engineer may require re-sawing of any existing pavement prior to any new pavement replacement.


5.9       Paved areas require a minimum 4’ width of surface restoration.  If undermining is observed by the inspector, additional areas may be required for sawing, removal, compaction and resurfacing.  All excavations must be squared or cut to follow the permanent restoration requirements.


5.10     Material for backfilling shall be approved by the City Engineer prior to backfill operations.  See Section 6 - Backfilling


5.11     Concrete pavement street excavation surface replacements are covered in Section 9 – Permanent Restoration.


5.12     Core drilling (potholing) for utility locations are permitted only after approval of the City Engineer.  Restoration of core holes shall be in accordance with current publications of SUDAS and any applicable City of Dubuque SUDAS 2020 Supplemental Specifications.  When more than one core is required, a continuous cut with a minimum of 3’ x 3’ will be required if in asphalt, possibly full slab replacement if in concrete, or a charge per each location, unless otherwise approved by the City Engineer.




6.1       All traffic control must be provided by the permit holder and comply with the latest edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).  The City Engineer must approve any special and unique traffic control prior to issuance of a permit. 


6.2       Under no circumstances may a street or alleyway be closed either partially or completely, without prior approval of the City Engineer.  The permit holder shall be responsible for notifications of the closing to the Police (563) 589-589-4415; Fire Department (563) 589-4160 and Dubuque Community School District (563) 552-3275.  The City Engineer may require that closures of streets and public rights-of-way have an approved marked detour route to minimize disruption to normal traffic flow. On main thoroughfares, there shall be at all times sufficient traffic lanes open to permit a substantially normal traffic flow; otherwise the work shall be confined to the hours between nine o’clock (9:00) a.m. and four o’clock (4:00) p.m. or between twelve o’clock (12:00) midnight and seven o’clock (7:00) a.m.  In the event the work is of an emergency nature, the city manager may authorize work during other hours under such conditions as the city manager shall determine appropriate. On arterial and collector streets, no restrictions of traffic flow will be allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. or from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. without the prior approval of the City Engineer.


6.3       The permit holder shall perform the work with as little interference with the normal traffic flow as possible, and two-way traffic shall be maintained wherever possible.  Temporary “No Parking” signs are available from the Engineering Department when a parking area is required for the channelization of traffic or if the excavation is located in the parking area.  Only “No Parking” signs, which have been signed and dated by a representative of the Engineering Department, shall be used for such purpose.


6.4       “No Parking” signs shall not be used for the purpose of reserving parking for the permit holder’s vehicles or equipment.  Any vehicle parked in an area posted as “No Parking” may be cited.


6.5       If deemed necessary by the City Engineer, a “Reserved Parking” sign(s) may be issued to allow the permit holder to park equipment vehicles and/or equipment on the street.  The “Reserved Parking” sign(s) must be signed and dated by a representative of the Engineering Department.


6.6       Required signs must be posted 48 hours prior to commencement of any work.


6.7       Any parking meters that are taken out of service must be coordinated and paid for by the permit holder. Contact the City of Dubuque Transportation Services Department, 950 Elm Street, Dubuque, IA 52001, or (563) 589-4266, or go to the City’s website,


6.8       The permit holder is responsible for placing and maintaining proper barricades, warning signs, lights, and traffic cones so as to protect the public from injury or damage as a result of the excavation.


6.9       City Engineer may require additional traffic control measures if traffic conditions warrant the extra protection.  Certified flagmen are mandatory at intersections where equipment is intermittently blocking a traffic lane of an arterial or collector street, or where only one lane is available for two directions of travel on an arterial or collector street.


6.10     Any signage removed or damaged before or during the performance of any work must be replaced at the end of the project.  Care must be taken for accurate markings of sign locations when removal is needed, care of condition of post and sign, and immediate replacement at works end.  Any signage related to traffic movement must remain or have temporary placements during performance of any work, with permanent replacement at the end of the work performance.


6.11     Any pavement markings eliminated or damaged before or during the performance of any work must be replaced at the end of the project.  Any pavement markings related to traffic movement must remain or have temporary measures in place during the performance of any work, with all permanent replacement at the end of the work performance.


6.12     Spoil and material piles shall not infringe on the remaining travel lanes or visibility triangles and if placed on the street, shall be placed on the approaching traffic side of the excavation.


6.13     All excavations are to be backfilled by the end of each working day, if possible.  In the event that an excavation must remain open, steel plates may be required to cover the excavation, at the discretion of the City Engineer.  The plates shall be of sufficient strength to accommodate all traffic loads.  An overlap to undisturbed area should be maintained.  Intersections will be required to be plated or temporarily backfilled.  Unless approved by the City Engineer in writing, no excavation shall be left open during the weekend.  If steel plates are not utilized, temporary fill shall be placed to street grade and barricading is required.  Orange safety fence or other similar fence firmly anchored and barricaded shall be required to surround the excavation.


6.14     Accessibility Considerations - When existing pedestrian and/or bike trail facilities are disrupted, closed, or relocated in a temporary traffic control zone, the temporary pedestrian facilities shall be consistent and in accordance with the MUTCD.




7.1       Backfilling shall be done under the supervision of the City Engineer and in accordance with SUDAS and the City of Dubuque SUDAS 2020 Supplemental Specifications for Backfill.


7.2       Compaction Testing - The permit holder performing the backfilling operations shall submit a current proctor of the approved backfill material to the City of Dubuque Engineering Department at least 12 hours in advance of backfill operations.  The proctor shall have been performed or supervised by an individual who is IDOT certified in performing proctor tests.


7.3       The City reserves the right to perform, or to require the permit holder to perform, periodic density tests to assure that the compaction requirements are being achieved.  The permit holder shall be required to cooperate with the City in this regard and without compensation for any delays which may result by virtue of any additional compaction testing, removal, compaction and retesting.


7.4       Backfill in all excavations within the right-of-way shall be compacted by a mechanical tamper of an approved type in lifts not to exceed eight (8”) inches in loose thickness to the final surface elevation or pavement subgrade.  Backfill material shall consist of crushed limestone, ¾” basestone, or an approved equivalent, compacted to 95% of Standard Proctor Density.  Alternate backfill material may be used only upon approval of the City Engineer.


7.5       The City further reserves the right to require an excavation to be re-opened for the purpose of compaction testing where there is sufficient cause to believe that proper density was not achieved.  If the compaction is not of sufficient density, the permit holder shall be required to remove the material and compact the excavation until compaction requirements are achieved.


7.6       Failure to follow backfill procedures as herein outlined shall be considered grounds for denial of future permit issuance.




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