4.2 Street Excavation Requirements

Street excavations must be performed in accordance with Section 2-11 (e) of the Highway Rules 

Some of the requirements include, but are not limited to the following, where the applicant must:

  • Give notice to New York 811*. In accordance with New York State Industrial Code Rule No. 53 relating to construction, for excavation and demolition operations at or near underground facilities, permittees must contact New York 811 at least 48 hours time sensitive requirement prior to beginning any work. New York 811 may be reached by calling 1-800-272-4480 or 811.
  • Break the existing pavement using only hand-held tools (no "ram hoes" or truck-mounted tools), unless otherwise authorized.
  • Assure that tools, debris, or other materials are not allowed to block water flow in gutters.
  • Use timber, sheeting or bracing for any open excavation deeper than 5 feet.
  • Not perform tunneling or jacking without a permit.
  • Use full trenching for all sewer repair/connections.
  • Limit traffic obstruction to one lane unless otherwise authorized by NYC DOT.
  • Employ and display appropriate barricades, signs, lights, and other approved traffic control devices in accordance with the most recent version of the MUTCD, published by the Federal Highway Administration, and the New York State Supplement.
  • Cover all unattended street openings/excavations with plates unless otherwise directed by NYC DOT.
  • Follow all permit stipulations, such as the hours and/or days in which street operations and construction may take place, and removal of applied markings pursuant to a New York 811 notification at Special Treatment Project (STP) locations. Work on critical streets may be limited to nights, weekends, or off-peak periods; however, work outside of the weekday daytime period (7:00 AM to 6:00 PM) requires a noise variance from the NYC DOT Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination (OCMC).
  • Maintain at least 5 feet of unobstructed sidewalk for pedestrians at all times. Any work that narrows the sidewalk to less than 5 feet may require a temporary Sidewalk Closing Permit.
  • Store construction materials in areas adjacent to the work site only as designated on the permit. Excavated material must either be removed from the site or stockpiled at a designated curb with proper barricading. Storage of construction-related equipment, excluding cranes, must follow any special stipulations on the permit. Storage of cranes, as noted in the Highway Rules, Section 2-05(j), requires an additional permit from NYC DOT.

4.2.1 New York 811, Inc.

New York 811 is a nonprofit organization that acts as a communications link between utility companies and individuals planning any digging activity in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. New York State law (Article 36 of General Business Law and 16 NYCRR Part 753, AKA Industrial Code 53) requires excavators to contact New York 811, via 811, 800-272-4480 or the internet, within 2 to 10 working days before performing any digging or excavation work. New York 811 then relays digging and excavation requests to its member network of utility companies and underground facility owners, who are required to mark the location of their underground facilities within two working days. Excavators use those markings to help identify underground facility locations ”in order to promote public safety and to prevent damage to public and private property.” (16 NYCRR Part 753)

Tips for Excavators

  • Call before you dig. 811 or 800-272-4480.
  • Wait the required time.
  • Confirm utility response.
  • Respect the marks.
  • Dig with care.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting New York 811 at 800-272-4480, or visiting the New York 811 Website 

Required Information for Call

  • Name of caller
  • Name, address and phone number of excavator
  • Excavator’s field phone number
  • Name of field contact person
  • Address/location of work area
  • Start date and time
  • Means of digging and excavation
  • Brief description of the planned digging and excavation

Marking Color Codes

When utility company representatives mark a location, they use colored flags and/or paint to identify the type of underground service:

  Red Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
  Yellow Gas, oil, steam, petroleum and gaseous materials
  Orange Communications, alarm, signal lines, cables and conduit
  Blue Potable water
  Purple Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
  Green Sewers and drain lines
  Pink Temporary survey markings
  White Proposed excavation


Streets can hide a complex infrastructure of underground utilities. One call to New York 811 provides for where gas (yellow), electric (red) and phone (orange) are located.


It is essential to call New York 811 before digging anywhere, including sidewalks and soil. This New York 811 marking shows where a cable television line is located beneath the sidewalk.