March 12, 2021 12:15 PM, EST

Rhode Island Launches Electronic Permitting System

Rhode Island highway The new system is designed for applicants wanting a physical alteration permit, which is required for work that affects a state road, such as a new driveway or commercial development. (Rhode Island Department of Transportation)

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The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has launched an entirely electronic permitting system for work associated with road projects.

The new system is designed for those applying for a physical alteration permit, which is required for work that affects a state road, such as a new driveway or commercial development. Physical alteration permits are required in circumstances relating to curbs, highway and bridge access, stormwater disposal, traffic signals, signage and construction within state highway right-of-way.

Payments can be made online through the electronic system, which was announced March 10. The system also has a notification feature so applicants can respond quickly to requests for information and receive their permit as soon as it is approved.

Peter Alviti


“Like many of the processes and procedures that we revamped over the past several years to improve the way we do business,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said, “this new permit system will help people get what they need better and faster, cutting as much red tape as possible so they can get to building their projects quicker than before.”

The system replaces a submission process that was completed entirely over paper. The former process required extensive time for documents to be mailed back and forth between RIDOT and applicants to ensure all permit requirements were met.


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Before its widespread launch, RIDOT piloted electronic submission practices this past fall for single-family residential properties. The system is now available to all property owners and developers, including those involved with commercial and multiunit residential properties.

According to the department’s physical alteration permit application manual, all applications except those related to single-family residences require a cost estimate of construction operations proposed within the state right-of-way and construction operations proposed for private property that, if not done correctly, would affect the state right-of-way.

In addition to obtaining a permit, applicants must review and agree to the provisions of RIDOT’s Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction.

Dan McKee


“Making it easier to do business with the state is one of the most important things we can do, especially as we build back our economy which has been hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Dan McKee said. “Every step we take to support businesses and streamline government operations is a step in the right direction.”

Rhode Island is one of several states that has expanded electronic permitting and licensing opportunities. During the pandemic, when many registration offices limited services and people sheltered at home, states offered ways for people to complete tasks online.

For example, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles in November launched an online program to help companies manage their fleets. The eMV Fleet Registration System offers an option that allows businesses to renew the registration for each vehicle in their fleet. Through the system, companies can view their entire fleet on a customizable dashboard, select vehicles scheduled for renewal and pay for their transactions.

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