Online Permit Process Excavations

Online Permit Process - Excavations

Before applying online for an Excavation and Trench Permit you will need to obtain your user name and password by contacting the DPW Permit Desk at (617) 349-4833 or by email . Note: A permit will not be reviewed unless permit fees are paid at time of application and a valid $5000.00 bond and certificate of insurance is on file at the Department of Public Works (see requirements below).

1. Sign into the online permitting system using your assigned username and password.
2. Enter or update current company information.
3. Enter a valid email address. Please ensure that your email address is correct. Once approved, your permit will be emailed to the address you provide.
4. Provide an emergency contact number of the person in charge of the project.
5. Set a desired permit beginning and end date. Excavation and trench permits are valid for 29 days from your requested start date. The fee for an excavation in the public way is $100 and a trench permit entirely on private property is $50.00 (see item 9 below). Sewer and drain inspections are $150.00 per inspection. The Street Preservation Offset Fee (SPOF) for an excavation less than 100 SF is $11.00 per square foot (see below for additional information).    Also, keep in mind that the DPW needs 3-5days notice to review permits. Weekend work is not allowed except under special conditions and additional fee may apply.
6. Enter the location of the project. If not working at or in front of a specific address, state the project location and cross streets in the purpose of excavation text box.
7. Check infrastructure type(s). Please ensure that you only check boxes that apply to your project as additional inspection fees could be added.
8. In the “Purpose of Excavation” field please provide a detailed description of the work that is to be performed.
9. If excavation is a trench, click yes and enter competent person and hoisting license information. Review State trench regulations.
10. Enter your dig safe number and any other additional permit numbers.
11. If parking meters are impacted, the Traffic and Parking Department will also need to be contacted – (617) 349-4700.

Remember: Permit applications need to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Public Works before work begins. Printing this online application does not mean that you have an approved permit.

Street Preservation Offset Fee (SPOF):
The SPOF is applied to any street cut or sidewalk cut that is part of your excavation in the public way. To add SPOF measurements click “add dimensions” and enter the required information in the appropriate fields. Note: Please enter each cut separately not as a combined total.   Review SPOF regulations.


1. A traffic/pedestrian management plan must accompany this application. The traffic/pedestrian management plan must meet MUTCD and ADA requirements.
2. If your $5000 surety bond and/or certificate of insurance needs to be renewed, please attach a copy. COI must be for $1,000,000.00 per occurrence and $3,000,000.000 aggregate. The City of Cambridge must be named as an additionally insured and the certificate holder. Originals need to be mailed to the DPW.
3. Include any site plans or additional documents as required.

Submit Permit Application:

Before submitting your permit application, please make sure the information entered is correct. Once submitted a permit application cannot be modified. If you do need to make a change, please contact the Permit Desk at (617) 349-4833 or by email


Permit application fee must be paid at the time of application, unless deferred payment is approved in advance in writing by the Superintendent of Streets, Sidewalks and Sewers. Once an online permit is submitted you will automatically be taken to a payment window. The Cambridge DPW accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover. Enter all required information and submit your payment. You can also pay balances on existing permits by clicking HERE

Permit Approval:
Once approved your permit will be sent to the email address specified in the online application. The permit review process could take up to 3-5days.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm