Road Permit in France - Everything you need to know

Contractors and other project owners are often confronted with the problem of road permits in France. This is the case for all works that will modify the ground or the subsoil of the public domain. But where and how to submit the request in order to obtain this essential sesame before any start of job site ? And above all, what are the recourses in case of refusal? We are going to detail all these points together.

Definition of a road permit

Road permits are a group of different types of requests. They include the parking permit and the road permit. The latter is to be requested for works that will be carried out along the roadside or on the public domain. Another characteristic of this road permit application is that it concerns work that will have a footprint, that will transform the ground or the subsoil of the public domain.

For example, the installation of pipes requires a prior request for a road permit. The same applies to the installation of street furniture or the removal of street furniture from job site if it is to be anchored in the ground.

This procedure must be carried out using a regulated form called "cerfa permission de voirie".

If the nature of the work will affect traffic, a request for a traffic order must also be made.

Stop of the SCoT and complementary work


Who issues the road permission?

It is the authority in charge of the road concerned that will respond to this request. In the municipalities, it is generally the mayor who will issue a road order granting authorization.

Please note that in certain large towns, some roads will not be communal. The municipal services will therefore not be able to process a request for road permission on the departmental or national network. It is advised to contact the town hall beforehand to check the nature of the road concerned.

The road by-law specifies the characteristics of the job site, its opening date and the deadline for completion of the work. It also sets out the specific technical requirements and the responsibility of the contractor.

The municipal by-law will always mention the temporary and revocable nature of the road permit granted. This is one of the particularities of road permits.


The differences between an occupation permit and a road permit

The occupation permit of the public domain takes different forms. For example, the terraces of cafés are subject to a temporary occupation permit (AOT) for the public domain.

However, there are two main types of occupancy for works, the parking permit and the road permit.

In fact, a road permission is an authorization to occupy, in the same way as a parking permit.

However, the road permit differs from the parking permit in the nature of the work to be carried out. Indeed, it necessarily implies that the job site will require a footprint and therefore lead to a modification of the ground or the subsoil.

On the other hand, the parking permit, which is also an occupation permit, only concerns work that does not affect the ground or the subsoil.

Thus, it will be necessary to file a parking permit application to install a dumpster or scaffolding for a renovation.

However, an application for road permit must be filed before starting to lay underground pipes or installing a bus stop, for example.

As for the installation of a fence of job site, depending on whether it is sealed in the ground or not, it will need a road permit or a parking permit.

In any case, the request is made by the same form as the cerfa road by-law.

Road Permit | City of Surgères

Cerfa road by-law

It is the cerfa n°14023*01 which allows to write the request. It is available for download by clicking here!

An explanatory note is also available on the site.

This form must be accompanied by the documents mentioned for the file to be considered complete.

This is what will determine the starting point of the instruction period.

The mayor's obligation with respect to roads

The authority in charge of the management of communal road networks is the municipality, as a public entity, and represented by its mayor. Indeed, the municipality has the prerogatives of owner of the public domain concerned. It must exercise its police powers to ensure the preservation of the domain in its current state. This is why it is necessary to submit a request for a road order to the town hall for work on communal roads.

As guarantor of the good conservation of the communal road domain, it will determine if the work is possible and will fix the conditions of realization and the limits.

The administration has a two-month instruction period starting from the submission of the complete road permit application file. The refusal can be notified but it is not obligatory. This is called, in the latter case, a tacit decision. In this case, the silence of the administration at the end of the two months is equivalent to a refusal.

Like any administrative decision, this one can be contested.

Town Hall hours and contacts

Appeals against the mayor in road matters

The possible appeals can be made in a gracious way or in a contentious way. 

The first option is simply to ask City Hall to reconsider its decision. This is the preferred option. It is advisable to contact the relevant department of the city hall to find out the reason for the refusal. It will then be possible to renew the request taking into account these reasons and thus allow the road permit to be granted.

If this is not enough or if the project owner considers that the town hall has exceeded its powers in this matter, an appeal to the administrative court should be considered. The time limit for bringing the contentious action is two months from the date of notification if the decision has been communicated. If the decision has not been communicated within two months of the file being examined, the date on which the complete file is submitted sets the time limit: two months for the decision plus two months for the appeal.

It should be noted that the time between the filing of an application and the judgment is between seven months and two and a half years, depending on the complexity of the case and the congestion of the court concerned.

What to remember about the road permit?

Finally, the point to remember is that any job site that will modify the ground or the subsoil of a part of the public domain requires a road permit. In order to avoid delays in starting the work, it is essential to respect two points. First of all, it is necessary to make sure that the request is filed with the competent authority. Most of the time, this is the town hall for work in a built-up area, but a check with the competent municipal department is essential. Then, submitting a complete file from the beginning with all the documents mentioned in the cerfa14023*01 is also a key element. If, despite all these precautions, the application is rejected, be careful to respect the time limits for appeal so as not to find yourself out of time. This is the secret of the road permit.

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