Private Roads, Culverts & Bridges

Obtaining a Flood Recovery Access Permit

Residents who need to repair or rebuild private roads or driveways to public roads, including culvert replacement and waterway crossings, need to obtain a Flood Recovery Access Permit (sample) from the Transportation Department.

New permits are needed because the flood has damaged and destroyed roads and driveways to properties while altering the location of creek channels in many areas. It is important that any repair or replacement of culverts and structures that cross waterways are sized and installed according to the new post-flood condition. 

The Flood Recovery Access Permits are temporary permits to allow owners to gain access to property where it is feasible and safe while final alignments for roads and creek channels are established. While every effort will be made to ensure an access can become permanent, there is no guarantee that this will be possible.

The county is streamlining the Flood Recovery Access Permit process by:

  • Waiving the access permit fee.
  • Not requiring a grading permit for accesses that are restored at the same location as existed before the flood, provided no new cut and fill areas are created elsewhere on the property.
  • Not requiring a floodplain development permit for temporary accesses that require a structure to cross a waterway.
  • Providing assistance to residents to help meet county requirements for culvert replacement.

Repairing or rebuilding an access without a permit carries a number of risks to the property owner, including:

  • Safety risks, where the repair results in an unsafe access or where the access creates an unsafe condition for self, neighbors and/or the traveling public.
  • Connection risks, where the public road may be relocated, or changed in some other way, for final construction.  This is also a risk where creek channels have moved.
  • Legal risks, where damage or injury results from an unpermitted access.

Property owners who have repaired or rebuilt accesses to properties without a Flood Recovery Access Permit are encouraged to contact the Transportation Department. The department will work with residents to minimize risks and to ensure accesses are built in accordance with the county's Policy and Procedures for Post-Flood Access Repair/Restoration.

Temporary structure designs should meet the design criteria established in Section 1000 of the Boulder County Storm Drainage Criteria Manual’s Culvert and Bridge Standards:

  • An 18” (minimum) diameter culvert will generally be required for accesses that do not cross waterways
  • Where an access crosses a waterway, the culvert must be sized to pass the ten-year storm

Boulder County's Multimodal Transportation Standards  provide guidance for permanent private access construction. See Section 5.5 and standard drawings in the back of the document. Any construction performed that does not meet these standards is done at the property owner's risk. Property owners will be responsible for retaining and paying for construction materials and labor.

Contact the Transportation Department at 303-441-3928 for additional information and to apply for an Access Permit.